The Purple Rose of Cairo

The Purple Rose of Cairo. This is a tremendous movie. If you love movies, I think it’ll stay with you. So good. Ebert agrees with me. As in Sherlock, Jr. the characters break the screen and go back and forth from the film world to reality (Allen is a science fiction filmmaker, you might recall) and wrestle with the rules and expectations on either side. There’s clever satire of movies, movie culture, movie-lovers. Much of it is bittersweet, but there’s almost always some jumping dixieland jazz playing in the background that keeps things from getting too sour. Thus, we have an escapist film about film escapism. After all, we need delusions to keep us going.

Since no one asked, here’s my ranking of Woody Allen films I’ve seen:

  1. Manhattan
  2. The Purple Rose of Cairo
  3. Annie Hall
  4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  5. Sleeper
  6. Match Point
  7. Scoop

Definitely need to see some more. I’ve done similar, ongoing lists for Clint Eastwood and Alfred Hitchcock.

Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary’s Baby. This is one creepy movie. It’s mostly a nice, slow tiptoeing towards a dreadful end rather than occasional surprise-attack horror nonsense. Ebert says:

This is why the movie is so good. The characters and the story transcend the plot. In most horror films, and indeed in most suspense films of the Alfred Hitchcock tradition, the characters are at the mercy of the plot. In this one, they emerge as human beings actually doing these things.