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Interiors
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Interiors

Interiors (1978) is comedic writer/director Woody Allen's first serious dramatic film, and is a stylistic homage to the films of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Starring E.G. Marshall (12 Angry Men, 1957), Geraldine Page (1986 Best Actress Academy Award® Winner for A Trip to Bountiful), Maureen Stapleton (Bye Bye Birdie, 1963), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, 1977), and Mary Beth Hurt (The World According to Garp, 1982), the plot concerns MarshallÕs decision to divorce his wife (Page) and marry Pearl (Stapleton), and the chilling effect his choice has on his adult daughtersÕ detached relationships with their parents, each other and their own inner lives. The film was originally titled Anhedonia, meaning the incapacity to experience pleasure.

A visually stunning film, Interiors lays bare the emotional struggles of a deliberately isolated family. Within Gordon Willis' cinematographic color palette of grays, greens and whites, the appearance of Pearl's vibrant red dress startles us as much as it does the introspective and wounded women in the film. Daughter Joey (Hurt) calls Pearl a "vulgarian" when her dancing - a spontaneous gesture of joy before a passionless family - shatters a vase carefully placed by Eve (Page), the abandoned matriarch.

In the biography Woody Allen by Eric Lax, Allen's longtime editor Ralph Rosenblum comments on Allen's desire to make a serious film: "Even before he made a movie, he had that Bergmanesque streak. He was going to make funny movies and pull the rug at the very end. I wasn't shocked by the original end of Take the Money and Run (where Virgil is machine-gunned), but I thought it was stupid. But that's something he has carried through all his movies and he will finish his life making serious movies. He says that comedy writers sit at the children's table and he's absolutely right about that. He wants to be remembered as a serious writer, a serious filmmaker. He managed to rescue Interiors, much to his credit. He was against the wall. I think he was afraid. He was testy, he was slightly short-tempered. He was fearful. He thought he had a real bomb. But he managed to pull it out with his own work. The day the reviews came out, he said to me, 'Well, we pulled this one out by the short hairs, didn't we?'

Allen was indeed apprehensive about how audiences would respond to Interiors and while watching the film with an acquaintance reportedly said, "It's always been my fear. I think I'm writing Long Day's Journey into Night and it turns into Edge of Night.' It's true the reviews were mixed on Interiors and even Allen wasn't sure he was satisfied with the dialogue. In Lax's biography, the director said, "Take the last speech in the Russian Uncle Vanya. It's extremely poetical, and nobody talks like that, really. Yet that's how I was trying to write in those dramas. After I saw it, with Diane Keaton, it became a very important film in my life. But even among all the people I know in the film business - the directors and actors and New Yorkers - nobody saw it."

Obviously, Allen is mistaken because his peers saw Interiors and nominated it for five Academy Awards¨, including Best Actress (Page), Best Supporting Actress (Stapleton), Best Art Direction, Best Screenplay and Best Director.

Director: Woody Allen
Producer: Charles H. Joffee, Jack Rollins, Gordon Willis
Screenplay: Woody Allen
Cast: Kristin Griffith (Flyn), Mary Beth Hurt (Joey), Richard Jordan (Frederick), Diane Keaton (Renata), E.G. Marshall (Arthur), Geraldine Page (Eve), Maureen Stapleton (Pearl), Sam Waterston (Mike)
C-92m.

by Jessica Handler VIEW TCMDb ENTRY

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