Notes from the Woodcutter: ‘Manhattan’
STUDIO CITY, California — Manhattan is a sweet little gem of a movie made by Woody Allen in 1979. Shot in gorgeous black & white, the film opens with a stunning montage of New York set to the strains of Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue.
Unlike Scorsese’s gritty Mean Streets & Sidney Lumet’s Serpico, Manhattan offers an idealized view of New York. This is Woody Allen’s attempt to make sense of his relationship with the city and the difficulty of living a decent life amid society’s loose contemporary morals. (“I think people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics.”)
Woody Allen initially disliked the film so much he asked United Artists not to release it, even offering to make another film for free instead. Perhaps Woody was reacting to his own character’s portrayal in the film as a twice-divorced comedy writer who dates a 17-year old girl before falling in love with his best friend’s mistress. (A trifecta of divorce, infidelity & statutory rape–raw meat for Woody Allen haters.)
The movie was distributed by United Artists as the studio was about to fall to pieces due to the “Heaven’s Gate” fiasco. The attached woodcut features the iconic shot of Woody & Diane Keaton sitting by the Queensboro Bridge at the end of a long night. The production had to bring their own bench for the scene since there were no park benches in the area.
Loren Kantor is a woodcut artist based in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles. To see works he has for sale, visit http://woodcuttingfool.blogspot.com/
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