Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1Good Kill on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'The Good Wife' Cush Jumbo Tackles Comparisons...
'Class': 'Doctor Who' Spinoff Series Coming to BBC Thre...
'The Revenant' Trailer: Leonardo DiCaprio Seeks Revenge...
Will Trevor Noah Live Up To The Hype During Monday's 'D...
Watch Eddie Vedder, Beyonce Duet on Bob Marley's 'Redem...
'CSI' being laid to rest after 15 years ...
Big Brother Season 17 Finale Recap: Super Fan & Trombon...
Dancing With the Stars Recap: Bindi Irwin and Derek Hou...
Emmys 2015: Who should win Outstanding Lead Actor in a ...
Shark Tank Robert Herjavec 'Very Grateful' To Have Met ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

MGM Studios DVD presents
Manhattan (1979)

"Chapter One: He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Beneath his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat. [I love this.] New York was his town, and it always would be...."
- Isaac Davis (Woody Allen)

Review By: debi lee mandel   
Published: July 04, 2000

Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemmingway
Other Stars: Meryl Streep, Anne Byrne
Director: Woody Allen

MPAA Rating: PG for (occasional language)
Run Time: 01h:36m:00s
Release Date: July 05, 2000
UPC: 027616851154
Genre: romantic comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A+ A-BB+ D+

DVD Review

Paragraph One: Manhattanis not a sequel to Annie Hall; rather, it is more how he would have made the former if he'd had a plan. [Hmmm, not right, try again...]

Paragraph One: Manhattan is how he would have madeAnnieHall if he had set out to make a romantic comedy instead of a murder mystery.[A bit chunky, start again.]

Paragraph One: Director Woody Allen cemented his new style with his 1979 follow-up to his successful Annie Hall in the quieter, more emotional Manhattan. Having set the pole higher for the genre of romantic comedy, he leaps tall buildings and takes us along to the new heights he has achieved, cinematically, psychologically, emotionally. [OK, get on with it.]

While in his previous film the relationship was the star, here, it is the title character, the romanticized, idealized borough of Allen's vision. And while Hollywood tends to focus these days on the gritty urban crevices, Woody paints HIS town in broad, luminous strokes, making it more alluring and attractive than we have seen it since On the Town. Add to this the all-Gershwin score, and we are as hopelessly enamored as he is.

But even a city like New York is only a sum of its parts, in this case the entangled lives of a handful of its denizens. Again, Allen invites the viewer in, a fly on the wall, to witness the more intimate moments of very personal relationships. The choice of black & white is sublime here—the absence of color narrows our focus and accentuates the natural, rambling dialogue that is key to Allen's films. And in the expert hands of cinematographer Gordon Willis, there is more revealed in the subtle contrasts than color could provide.

We have Isaac Davis (Allen), a 42-year-old man who, by his own admission, doesn't know what it means to say "I love you." He's had a difficult history with relationships ("I've never had a relationship that lasted longer than Hitler and Eva Braun...."), including a wife (Streep) that left him for another woman. When we meet him, he is dating Tracy (Hemmingway), a high school senior who KNOWS she is in love with him no matter how he tries to tell her it isn't so. His best friend Yale (Murphy) has had a long and, in Isaac's mind, ideal marriage, but reveals that he has been seeing another woman—the abrasive, erudite Mary Wilke (Keaton). When Yale decides to break it off, he encourages Isaac to see Mary and they hit it off. Isaac breaks it off with a tearful Tracy, then Mary breaks it off with him.... So goes the story, so goes life. Allen is at his best as he weaves then unravels then attempts to mend these fragmented experiences into a recognizable whole with heart, humor and yes, humility. Didn't know he had it in him? Watch his acting in the last 10 minutes of the film; watch his face in the last 7 minutes; watch his eyes in the final 20 seconds. Here is a man who has learned something, whether he likes it or not.

Manhattan is a love song, pure nostalgia, the sentimental side of Woody Allen. Only 2 years after his Oscar® triumph, his vision has matured tremendously, his humor is more carefully crafted and his neurosis is a bit more in check. He has come to terms with his emotions and lays them out for us instead of hiding behind jokes and gags and follies. The flawless Annie Hall seems like burlesque compared to the sophisticated humor revealed here.

Allen's characters ask all the wrong questions when searching for love. His ex-wife says, "You knew my history when you married me," to which he replies, " I know, my analyst warned me, but you were so beautiful that I got another analyst." Funny, VERY funny, but sad in its example of the emotional damage we risk in the name of desire. While taking cover from a sudden rainstorm in a Planetarium, Isaac and Mary have the sort of nervous conversation that people have when they realize they're attracted to each other. Set against the cosmos, a keen observer understands that the lives of these people...well, you know. And even Isaac knows, as in the end he dictates to his recorder an idea for a story:

"...about, um, people in Manhattan who, uh, who are constantly creating these real unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves 'cause it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about, uh, the universe...."

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Allen himself claims to be disappointed with the print that went out to the theaters, saying it was too dark. I imagine, then, that this transfer is from that source, as it is a bit dark overall. Still, the contrast was purposefully soft to lend an ambience of nostalgia to the feel of the film, a sense of Manhattan in its age of elegance. The image is remarkably clean, with a few nicks and no major aberrations.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The soundtrack is DD mono on both the English and Spanish tracks. The dialogue is distinct and balanced, and within the body of the movie the Gershwin score is proud but tamed. My main complaint is that in the opening sequence which features the transcendental "Rhapsody in Blue", the volume is enhanced so that it must be turned up when the dialogue begins. Not so following the denouement.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in French, Spanish
2 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Closed captioning
  2. Collectable "booklet"
Extras Review: The collectable "booklet" is more than a bit disappointing, amounting to one page of interesting information that leaves much to be desired. A few quotes, a handful of stills and its over.

The trailers are presented in widescreen in their original state.

Knowing Allen to be a private man, expectations did not run high and yet, considering the importance of this transitional film, I longed for something to enhance the experience.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

In a stunning, complex performance by Hemmingway as the innocent savant, Tracy is the one who understands the simplicity of love and sets the tone, if only the "adults" would listen.... This film remains the axis on which Allen's rebirth as a filmmaker continues to turn. Funny, charming and still as relevant today, a must have for Allen devotees, and a must see for anyone who has agonized over what it means to say "I love you." Very, uh, you know, recommended.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, the good wife, cush jumbo, archie panjabi, julianna margulies, bbc3, class, doctor who, buffy the vampire slayer, hunger games, steven moffat, brian minchin, movie, the revenant, leonardo dicaprio, tom hardy, alejandro g. inarritu, christmas day release, comedy channel, trevor noah, daily show, jon stewart, music, global citizen festival, pearl jam, byonce, ed sheeran, eddie vedder, cbs, csi, ted danson, elisabeth shue, elisabeth harnois, william petersen, marg helgenberger, big brother, abc, liz, steve, vanessa, julia chen, dr. will, dancing with the stars, bindi irwin, derek, hough, chaka khan, emmys 2015, laurence fishburne, tracee ellis ross, anthony anderson, will forte, jeffrey tambor, kym johnson, shark tank, robert herjavec, jungle book, cgi, scarlet johansson, bill murray, ben kingsley, idris elba, christopher walken, drama, celebrity apprentice, arnold schwarzenegger, donald trump, nbc, taylor swift, bad blood, emmy award, original interactive program, the late show, stephen colbert, ashley madison, horror, silent, epcot international food & wine festival, walt disney world, the chew, october, celebrity, jimmy fallon, tonight show, dj khaled, all i do is win, country music awards, eric church, little big town, miranda lambert, kenny chesney, sam hunt, maddie & tae, kacey musgraves, chris stapleton, late night, jeb bush, george clooney, war room, straight outta compton, faith-based drama, a walk in the woods, robert redford, september 8, documentary, history, movies, steven spielberg, the bfg, dreamworks, walt disney company, fashion police, melissa rivers, kelly osbourne, giuliana rancic, zendaya, mtv vma, njcki minaj, miley cyrus, anaconda, jennifer lawrence, amy schumer, billy joel, uptown girls, chicago

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store