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Label:
Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT303-BR

BANANAS (1971) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Woody Allen, Carlos Montalban, Howard Cosell, Rene Enriquez, Charlotte Rae, Conrad Bain, Louise Lasser
Directed By:  Woody Allen
Composed By:  Marvin Hamlisch

“An indecently funny movie…Any movie that attempts to mix together love, Cuban revolution, the C.I.A., Jewish mothers, J. Edgar Hoover, and a few other odds and ends (including a sequence in which someone orders 1,000 grilled cheese sandwiches) is bound to be a little weird—and most welcome.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“One of [Allen’s] best pictures…And it is a funny picture…when it hits, it hits.”
– Dave Kehr, The Chicago Reader

Writer (here with Mickey Rose)-director-actor Woody Allen’s madcap Bananas (1971) is part wild political satire/part screwball romance. Allen stars as the remarkably named Fielding Mellish, a nebbish whose yen for a political activist (Louise Lasser) involves him in a South American country’s exploding revolution, up to and including his eventual and unwitting appearance as a Castro-like dictator.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1971 / Color
82 MINUTES
RATED PG-13 Comic Sexuality Including Some Pin-Up Nudity, Some Drug Use and Crude Language

Special Features: Isolated Music Track / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
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Posted by Mark Turner on January 30, 2018 6:20 PM
Twilight Time continues with their release of the early to mid-period works of director Woody Allen with this film, released in 1971 and the third feature that he directed. Keeping with his prior effort Allen not only co-wrote the film but stars in it as well.

Allen plays Fielding Mellish, a nebbish if there ever was one, who spends his days working for a company that has him testing various products that seem to do him more harm than good. He meets a young activist named Nancy (Louise Lasser) who knocks on his door to ask him to sign a petition. Rather than just sign it, he talks her into meeting him on a dinner date and they begin dating. Until she tells him she’s not interested, longing for more of a leader like those fighting the revolutions in Latin America and parts ways with him.

In an effort to prove her wrong and having already having made plans to go, Fielding travels to San Marco. While there he is recruited by Gen. Vargas in the hopes that he will join with the rebels. Vargas’ plan is to kill him which would force the hand of the U.S. to get involved and help him when one of their citizens is killed. But in only the way Fielding can, he isn’t killed and goes on to join the rebels fighting there. He trains alongside this group learning their ways in the way only Allen could learn which is mostly wrong and potentially doing himself more harm than good.

Eventually the rebels win and their leader Esposito takes over. But his plans for the country are no better than those of his predecessor so the rebels force him out and place Fielding in charge, fake red Castro-style beard and all. Visiting the U.S. as the new president he is re-united with Lasser who doesn’t recognize him. From there things tend to get more strange and yes, that is possible.

The plot at the center of the film is very simple yet works. It provides the groundwork for Allen to lay out numerous one liners and jokes that make sense in the context of what is going on. That being said it is quite easy to see that this is an early film. His later movies went on to follow a similar pattern with his comedies but also develop more of a story as well. Many have noted that his fondness for Groucho Marx shines in his early comedies and the fast paced banter and one liners is a definite give away that this is so.

While this isn’t the best movie that Allen ever made it certainly isn’t close to one of his worst either. Much of what you see here definitely sets it in the 70s and you can tell. Interesting to note is a short sequence that features a young unknown (and uncredited!) actor playing a hood that accosts Fielding on the subway by the name of Sylvester Stallone.

Twilight Time is offering the film in blu-ray format with a 1080p transfer. Extras are very limited here featuring an isolated music track, the original theatrical trailer and writings by film historian Julie Kirgo. As with all of their titles it is limited to just 3,000 copies so if you want to insure you have a complete collection of Woody Allen films make sure you order one today.

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