Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

Description   [from Freebase]

Crimes and Misdemeanors is a 1989 black comedy and existential drama written, directed by and co-starring Woody Allen, alongside Martin Landau, Mia Farrow, Anjelica Huston, Jerry Orbach, Alan Alda, Sam Waterston and Joanna Gleason. The film was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for three Academy Awards: Woody Allen, for Best Director; Martin Landau, for Best Actor in a Supporting Role; and Allen again, for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. The story follows two main characters: Judah Rosenthal, a successful ophthalmologist, and Clifford Stern, a small-time filmmaker. Judah, a respectable family man, is having an affair with flight attendant Dolores Paley. After it becomes clear to her that Judah will not end his marriage, Dolores, scorned, threatens to inform his wife of their affair. Dolores' letter to Miriam is intercepted and destroyed by Judah, but she sustains the pressure on him with her threats of revelation. She is also aware of some ethically questionable financial deals Judah has made, which adds to his stress. He confides in a patient, Ben, a rabbi who is rapidly losing his eyesight.


After Annie Hall, this is categorically Woody Allen’s best film. A great ensemble production, Allen’s primary tack follows a successful opthamologist (Martin Landau, perfectly cast), who reluctantly decides to murder his mistress when she threatens to blow the whistle to his wife. A parallel story follows a putz documentarian (Allen), who is roped into making a documentary about a boorish sitcom producer (Alan Alda). In the end, everybody loses, but Allen’s neurotic outlook on life has never been presented with more clarity.

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