Honey, there’s a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick…

In 2002, Roger Ebert referred to Annie Hall as “just about everyone’s favorite Woody Allen movie.” Being that the film first hit theaters in 1977 and, to this day, continues to possess a cult following, it’s pretty safe to say that Ebert was onto something. Annie Hall, which can technically be considered an independent film as Allen was unwilling to relinquish any artistic control over the film in order to secure funding, has continued to appealed to audiences over the decades despite the fact that the film strays from typical Classical Hollywood conventions. Allen repeatedly breaks the 4th wall, talking directly into the camera and thus at the audience, in a steam of conscious manner. Therefore, the film is heavily driven by dialogue, as opposed to action, highlighting Allen’s tendencies to go off on what seem to be random, though are actually deliberate, tangents. While Allen strays from classical conventions in terms of plot and dialogue, he also strays from classical camera conventions. For example, in Classical Hollywood cinema, it’s common to start a scene with an establishing shot, moving to a medium shot, followed by a close up and then back out to a medium shot. Allen, on the contrary, often uses extremely long establishing shots, keeping the camera angle wide even after the characters have entered the frame. Additionally, Allen opts for several long-standing continuity shots in order to place focus on the dialogue as opposed to what is happening, visually, around the characters. It is also important to note that Allen uses a slew of other creative outlets that differ from conventional Hollywood cinema, such as; using subtitles to convey inner monologue, cutting into shots of animation, duplicating Annie in the same scene in order to convey a separation between her mind and body, and breaking reality (think random strangers responding to Alvy on the street/Marshall McLuhan just happening to be on hand in the movie theater to debunk a character’s thoughts on his writings). By abandoning conventional Hollywood cinema standards, Allen was able to reach out to a wide fan base on not only an entertaining level, but also an emotional level, leaving behind, what many would consider to be, his masterpiece.

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One Response to “Honey, there’s a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick…”

  1. tom weinberg Says:

    Yes…good presentation and thinking behind it.

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