Thursday, March 19, 2009

Annie Hall's other titles

I was a kid when I first watched Woody Allen's Annie Hall. I had previously watched his more slapstick films Take The Money and Run and Sleeper, so I was surprised when it was still very funny yet a deeper and more complex of a film. I don't think I understood a lot of the humor and the complexity at the time. It was probably the first art house (for lack of a better term) film that I saw and it really changed how I saw film from there on end. I know I am not unique in this experience. I have to say I am forever grateful, to not just Woody Allen and the creators of this masterpiece, but also to the program directors of whatever Boston/Providence television station that brought it into my home some time in the late 1970's. From that time forward I was hungry for the finer films the world had to offer.

The original title of the film was Anhedonia which according to Wikipedia is an emotional disorder of someone who cannot find any pleasure in life no matter what they do. This could be the title of a good many Woody Allen films. In looking at this word, anhedonia, one has to wonder if the name Annie Hall came from it. The film was changed to Annie Hall due to marketing which was probably a good move. Marshall Brickman, Allen's co-writer, had some other suggestions which I find to be very amusing: It Had to Be Jew, Roller Coaster Named Desire and Me and My Goy. One has to wonder if it would have won the Oscar if it had any of these titles. Can you imagine someone in a tuxedo announcing that Me and My Goy won the Oscar for best picture? Oy!

While writing the script, Brickman approached Allen to tell him that the script was very confusing and difficult to read. He was one of the writers and even he couldn't tell what was going on at points. It was after that point that they decided to concentrate on the two characters Alvy and Annie. I'd love to see the earlier script.

One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Annie and Alvy are hanging out in Central Park. Alvy, Allen's character, is pointing out people to Annie and making funny comments about them. He points to one guy and says, "Oh, there goes the winner of the Truman Capote Look-Alike Contest." The actor playing this man was actually Truman Capote. This is just an example of one of the things I missed when I watch it as a kid.

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