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After almost 40 years in the spotlight, as a comedian, author, director, amateur musician, and professional neurotic, Woody Allen is a living legend whose prolific achievements are all but unparalleled in cinematic history. To fans, his films have always represented a sort of ongoing autobiography, through which Woody bared his self-deprecating, over-analytical soul to the world. It was not until 1992, when his stormy private life turned into sensational headlines, that the cracks in the familiar persona began to appear. The lines separating art and fact, myth and reality, and public and private life became increasingly blurred.
The first book to answer all the lingering questions surrounding the "Woody-Mia Scandal", The Unruly Life of Woody Allen also investigates Woody's first two marriages and gets the inside scoop on the financing of his films. In the final analysis, it has a great deal to say about the cult of celebrity in America, how it is our own infatuation with the rich and famous that has made it possible for this supremely talented man to shrewdly manipulate both the media and the movie-going public.
"This is the complete Woody Allen, perhaps more than you wanted to know, a portrait of a complex, unfathomable human being who holds a high place in the entertainment industry." (AudioFile)
"A psychologically nuanced, tough-minded portrait." (Publishers Weekly)
I liked this book up to the last couple of chapters when it totally bogged down in the legal battles between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. I'm not sure who gets painted worse with the ugly brush in this book. Woody certainly comes off as a guy with serious neuroses and problems, but Farrow gets her share of criticism for her near-pathologic need to adopt children. The best parts are the ones that provide insight into Allen's moviemaking. If you like his stuff, buy the book and turn it off when the courtroom junk starts.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
An interesting look at the life of Woody Allen, a man who always manages to get what he wants, mostly through dint of hard work and talent. If that fails, Meade suggests, he's not above manipulation and blaming others. This isn't a sympathetic biography, but it isn't destructive, either: Meade acknowledges Mr. Allen's talent as a filmmaker while continually reminding readers (toward the end of the book) about his indifference to anything that gets in the way of getting him what he wants, including Soon-Yi Previn. Meade reports that whole episode in detail, although other features of his life and creative process generally get equal attention (except for his work with Diane Keaton, which gets less).
The book ends before Mr. Allen's recent hits such as MATCH POINT, so its conclusion hints that his career as a filmmaker is pretty much over because of his personal life. But Meade forgets that the American public has the historical attention span of a gnat when it comes to news and an infinite capacity for forgiving anyone who provides entertainment. You won't like Woody Allen more after reading this book, and you may be inclined to buy Meade's thesis that he's stuck at about age 18 emotionally, but you will be impressed at his work ethic and his attempts to protect his art from all outsiders, especially his fans.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Nobody, it's lengthy and too much about his work and names, who cares.
Would you ever listen to anything by Marion Meade again?
How could the performance have been better?
Much more reading like a story of his life rather than a list of movies and books and names and years of all his works, who cares.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Unruly Life of Woody Allen?
All of the exact years and names of people he worked with. It seems the author did not know much of his life and who the man really is.
Any additional comments?
Very boring, the author had to fill the book with something so she used names and dates of his work, not much about , Woody Allen, the person.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The book provides a biased and not complete picture of Woody Allen and his life. Almost as much time is spent on Mia Farrow as on Mr. Allen. Several parts of the book seems to rely more on gossip than fact. Perhaps the book is too long, and should be abridged to about 4h.
The narrator is unfortunately not to my liking, and she hsounds like a computer generated voice. I found that to be stressful after a while.
I would recommend the book to those who likes to read about celebrities and who enjoys gossip. I would not recommend it to those who would like to understand and learn more about Mr. Allen.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Really enjoyed this book, Woody Allen is a complex man and this book attempts to deal with the conflicting dimensions of this man's psyche.
A great book for anyone who is interested in his film process.
A good portion of the book deals with his meltdown with Mia Farrow and the subsequent allegations of child molestation. Fans of Mia Farrow need not purchase this book.
Interesting listen though the narration by Mary Woods is a bit bland.
To me Woody Allen's greatest cinematic moment is the opening scene of Manhattan with Rhapsody in Blue playing in the background. New York never looked so beautiful even in black and white.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful