Woody’s Squandered Talent

Woody Allen‘s film Manhattan (1979) is one of the mainstays of our Writing New York course, and I think it’s a great film.

Unfortunately, Woody himself doesn’t seem to agree.

In an interview with the Times of London this weekend to mark the UK opening of his 2009 film Whatever Works, Allen registered disappointment with his cinematic oeuvre. Asked whether he was happy with his films, Allen responded:

“I’ve squandered an opportunity that people would kill for. I have had complete artistic freedom. Other directors don’t get that in their lifetime. But I have a very poor record given the opportunities I’ve had. Out of 40 films I should have 30 masterpieces, eight noble failures and two embarrassments, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Many of the films are enjoyable by the mean standards of movies, but look at what has been accomplished by people who have done beautiful things — Kurosawa, Bergman, Fellini, Buñuel, Truffaut — and then look at my films. I have squandered my opportunities and I have nobody to blame but myself.”

According to the article, the six films that Allen “prizes” are Purple Rose of Cairo (1983), Match Point (2005), Bullets Over Broadway (1994), Zelig (1983), Husbands and Wives (1992), and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). No Manhattan.

In fact, he told the Telegraph earlier in the week that “after completing the now-seminal Manhattan he was so horrified by what he saw that he told the studio he would make another film for free to make up for it.”

Sorry, Woody, but I’m going to assume that you’re just in a cranky mood or being a little bit arch — or both. Because there is no way that Vicky Cristina Barcelona outranks Manhattan on anyone’s list of your films.

In the Times interview, Allen comes across as preoccupied with the fact of his own aging, noting that when he dies he wants to be cremated with “no fuss” and to have his ashes scattered over Madison Avenue.

Allen did reaffirm his love from New York, saying, ” “I love it because I was brought up here. I’m attached to it.”

[Photo: Colorstorm Media/Eyevine via times.co.uk]