While we all love our city in our own way, few of us can claim to have the same raw passion for New York as the legendary writer/director, Woody Allen. So many of his early masterpieces were set in the city, including much–loved movies like Annie Hall and Hannah, and his admiration and adoration of New York shone through in each and every one of them. Of all of Allen’s homages to the Big Apple, perhaps his most glorious celebration of the city comes in the Gershwin–scored classic, Manhattan. From the moment he starts eulogizing about the city offscreen to the soaring strings of “Rhapsody in Blue,” to the end credits, this is a film that is utterly in love with its locations.
So, it’s great news to hear that Manhattan has returned to the big screen in a brand–new edition. And if you missed the premiere or the initial release back in March, make sure you book your tickets for the return, showing at New York’s Film Forum in Hudson Square on Saturday, July 23rd.
Far from being just another re-release, this is a brand new, high–definition 4K print, taken directly from the original negatives, giving the luscious monochrome New York skyscrapers a crisper, sharper look than ever before. And if ever there was a film that deserved such treatment, Manhattan is it. Unlike many Woody Allen films, which rely heavily on their sharp dialogue, great cast, and quirky sentiments, Manhattan is as much about what you see onscreen as what you hear.
Just picture the iconic scene in which Allen’s Isaac and Mariel Hemmingway’s Tracey sit on a bench beside the 59th Street Bridge, and imagine what high-definition will add to the stunning black and white cinematography. It’s something you just can’t experience on DVD or Blu–Ray, however big your TV screen. You can get a taste of the quality of the new release with the official re-release trailer for the film.
Woody Allen has come a long way since his early films, such as the original Casino Royale, the critically panned farce from 1967 in which he played the incompetent, poker playing villain, Dr. Noah. While his character had no chance of becoming one of the world’s top players, Allen has gone on to become one of the world’s top directors, releasing a film a year on average for over 40 years, and winning no less than four Oscars in the process. Sadly, Manhattan itself lost out at the 1980 Academy Awards, despite two nominations for best original screenplay and best–supporting actress. However, it did collect the BAFTA for best film and best screenplay.
Remarkably, Manhattan feels as fresh and relevant today as it did on debut in 1979, almost forty years ago. This was the pinnacle of the paranoid, neurotic New Yorker that had come to be Woody Allen’s trademark persona. The character would live on through countless classics, even when Allen himself no longer took to the screen. Think of Jesse Eisenberg’s performance in last year’s Café Society or Joaquin Phoenix in 2015’s Irrational Man and you can sense them channeling Allen in every sharp-witted word and twitchy movement.
Yet, for all the imitations, and the many ways in which Woody Allen came to almost imitating himself, nothing quite measures up to the original. So, don’t miss your chance to see the ultimate Woody Allen movie as it was meant to be seen: on the big screen. If you love Manhattan, then you’ll love Manhattan!