Sunday 13 April 2008

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982) - ickleReview (HD)

Woody Allen light comedy set in the early twentieth century. Three couples meet at a country house the day before two of them are to get married. Andrew (Woody Allen) and Adrian (Mary Steenburgen) are the hosts. They are having marital problems and haven't slept with each other for six months. Andrew is a crackpot amateur inventor. The bride and groom are Leopold (Jose Ferrer), a pompous but likeable ass of a philosophy professor, and Ariel (Mia Farrow), a younger woman whom Andrew once knew. The third couple are Maxwell (Tony Roberts), a doctor who seduces his patients - a real ladies' man - who believes that "marriage is the end of hope", and Dulcy (Julie Hagerty - Jane, the air hostess from Airplane! (1980)), a nubile nurse whom he has invited along for the weekend.

One of Andrew's inventions, a spirit ball, appears to upset the couples' relationships and reveal their deeper desires. The inevitable partner-swapping ensues (I would call it "bed-hopping" except that most of the love-making appears to take place outdoors by the brook).

Gordon Willis is the director of photography. The night scenes are shot day-for-night with filters and are pretty unconvincing because of all the sunlight on the leaves and the bright sky (although it's not as bad as those old James Bond movies). There are some clever long takes in the interior as the conversations continue while the characters walk out of shot. In one of them, Andrew and Adrian can be seen talking in the kitchen through their reflection in a mirror. There are some other majestic long shots and a beautiful scene-setting sequence of the countryside flora and fauna in midsummer to the soundtrack of Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 (Scottish) in A Minor. The best laughs are generated by Allen's slapstick: crashing his insane flying machines and falling down the trellis at the side of the house (later repeated by Tony Roberts).

Nugget: a mildly enjoyable light farce, accompanied by the music of Felix Mendelssohn. It has, as far as I can tell, little to do with Shakepseare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (except for the love games, the spirits, and the fact that's it's midsummer in a wood), although Mendelssohn's music of that name does appear on the soundtrack.

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