The Woody & Mia Years 1982-1992 **

 

-Mia Farrow appeared in every single movie Allen directed from 1982-1992 (thirteen in total, including the short Oedipus Wrecks), but none outside of that time-frame. [2]

 

-Allen and Farrow had a love affair of some kind in 6 films, but Zelig is the only one in which they’re together at the end. [2]

 

-Broadway Danny Rose and Shadows and Fog were the only movies that both Allen and Farrow appeared in as actors but didn’t have a romance... although, in both cases, there was a little romantic tension. [2]

 

-Between 1982 and 1992, Mia Farrow only had two non-Woody Allen acting roles: as the title character in the animated film The Last Unicorn, and in Supergirl, as Alura, Supergirl’s Kryptonian mother. [2]

The Storm*

 

-Allen wholeheartedly dismisses any relationship between his film’s content and his real life, but then keeps making movies that “coincidentally” parallel famous moments in his life, and he fills his dialogue with things we know he’s actually said to Farrow (i.e. “the hearts wants what it wants;” the argument about Connecticut houses in Hannah and her Sisters). [2]

 

-Mia Farrow’s character at one point in the film says, ““It’s over, and we both know it.”

 

-On June 10th [1992?], Richard Johnson, a New York Daily News columnist, was the first to break the story. “I reported that Woody And Mia had broken up,” recalled Johnson, “but I didn’t say why.” [5]

 

-That July, Soon-Yi abandoned her family. [5]

 

-In early August Casey Pascal phoned Mia and said her baby sitter, returning from Frog Hollow the previous day, had reported that “something very disturbing” had happened. Casey thought that Mia should know about it. [5]

 

-While Mia was out shopping, Casey Pascal said, Alison Stickland had walked into the television room looking for one of the Pascal children and noticed Dylan [and Woody] on the sofa [in a very inappropriate position]. [5]

 

-After an examination, Dr. Vadakkekara Kavirajan reported no physical evidence that Woody had sexually abused the child, but the law required him to report Dylan’s story to the police. [5]

 

-In a two-page letter, Dr Kathryn Prescott stated that she had been treating Woody since 1972, and “there has never been any suggestion that Mr. Allen was suffering from sexual perversion/deviant sexual behavior.” [5]

 

-On August 13, Woody filed to obtain sole custody of Dylan, Satchel, and Moses Farrow. Overnight the story gathered momentum. Hopes that Woody could keep a low profile were dashed that afternoon when Mia’s mother went into battle mode [issuing ruthless statements about Woody through her publicist, John Springer]. [5]

 

-On Monday morning, the explosive accusations of child abuse surfaced when the Connecticut State Police confirmed they were conducting an investigation involving Woody Allen. [5]

 

-Woody issued a news conference at the Plaza Hotel because he felt compelled to defend and try and control some of the discussion about him in the press. “This is my one public appearance in years, and it’s all straight lines.” –Woody Allen [5]

 

-Mia’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz pointed out after the press conference that the child-abuse investigation in Connecticut and New York had not been instigated by Mia, but by Dylan’s doctors, acting under state laws. Woody, he suggested, filed his custody suit for one reason: to divert attention from those investigation. [5]

Woody Reinvents His Style

 

-“I've always been thinking that so much time is wasted and so much is devoted to the prettiness of films and the delicacy and the precision. And I said to myself, why not just start to make films where only the content is important. Pick up the camera, forget about the dolly, just hand-hold the thing and get what you can. And then, don’t worry about color correcting it, don’t worry about mixing it so much, don’t worry about all this precision stuff and just see what happens. When you feel like cutting, just cut. Don’t worry about that it’s going to jump or anything. Just do what you want, forget about anything but the content of the film. And that’s what I did.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-“Yes, I think you need a certain amount of confidence. Confidence that comes with experience enables you to do many thing that you wouldn’t have done in early films. You do tend to become bolder, because as the years go by you feel more in control of what you’re doing. When I first made films anyhow – and I know this is true about a number of other people – you tend to, as we’ve already discussed, do a lot of coverage and protect yourself in many ways. And then, as time goes on, you get more and more knowledgeable and experienced and you drop all that and you let your instincts operate more freely and you don’t worry so much about the niceties.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-“He [Carlo Di Palma] was interested, because he always likes it when there’s something exciting and provocative photographically.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-“Yes it was easier [to film], because he would light a whole general area. And then I said to the actors, go where you want, just walk wherever you want. Walk into darkness, walk into the light, just play the scene as you feel it. You don’t have to do it the same in the second take, just do whatever interests you. …And we did do rehearsals with the camera or anything. We would come in, he’d pick up the camera and we would do the scene and he would do the best he could.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-“I was wondering after this film, if it’s worth it to try and make films in the old regular way. Because this way goes very quick, and all that counts is the end result. So I may try and make a few films in that style. Because it’s fast and inexpensive and it does the job.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-“And it was the first time in years – in years, decades – that I came in under budget. It was both cheaper and faster.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-“Three days [of re-shoots]. Usually I re-shoot weeks and weeks and weeks.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-“Yes, she [Editor Susan Morse] loved it. We both had fun. Everybody – from a physical point of view, from a technical view – had more fun on this movie than anything else. The actors loved it. They didn’t have to block, they didn’t have to think about where they went. They could do what they wanted. It was very good that way. For everybody.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-Runtime: 82 minutes

-Released on September 18, 1992

-Production Company: Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

-Distributor: TriStar Pictures

-Rated R

-Budget: $2o million [1]

-Gross: $10.5 million [1]

-Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1

 

"Husbands and Wives" Screening Companion

-Beneath the urgency of all the older characters - both men, both women, and even the older dating partners they experiment with - is the realization that life is short, that time is running out, that life sells you a romantic illusion and neglects to tell you that you can't have it, because when you take any illusion and make it flesh, its hair begins to fall out, and it has B.O., and it asks you what your sign is. True love involves loving another's imperfections, which are the parts that tend to endure. [3]

 

-What Husbands and Wives argues is that many "rational" relationships are actually not as durable as they seem, because somewhere inside every person is a child crying me! me! me! We say we want the other person to be happy. What we mean is, we want them to be happy with us, just as we are, on our terms. [3]

 

-The best scenes in Husbands and Wives are between the characters played by Allen and Farrow. If we can judge by the subsequent events in their lives, some of this dialogue must have cut very close to the bone. They talk about trust, and being faithful, and what they're "really looking for," and they skate skittishly around the minefields of sex and lust. Both couples in the film are really asking the same question: Is this all there is? Must we abandon our fantasies of the perfect partner in order to accept the comfort and truth of our real one? [3]

 

-It’s impossible to view Husbands and Wives as just a movie, or evaluate it purely on its own merits. It arrived in the dark cloud of one of the most shocking personal scandals in tabloid history, and now, nearly 20 years later, it still carries those unshakable associations. Even if you’re somehow able to cognitively separate the movie drama from the real-life drama, it’s still burdened with wide-reaching implications. It’s Woody Allen’s last movie with Mia Farrow, and his last great, personal drama prior to an increasingly uneven body of work plagued by disinterest. It feels inescapably like a goodbye — both to Mia Farrow, and to us. [2]

 

-One of the movie’s running themes is the impact of a relationship’s history on a relationship’s present. [2]

Trivia

 

-The never-seen narrator/interviewer is played by the film's costume designer, Jeffrey Kurland. [1]

 

-Emily Lloyd was originally cast in the role of Rain, and footage was shot. Woody Allen decided it wasn't working, and replaced her with Juliette Lewis. [1]

 

-Hoping to piggyback on the scandal surrounding Woody Allen's break-up with Mia Farrow, TriStar opened the film on 865 screens, the largest amount ever given over to a Woody Allen picture. They were rewarded with an opening weekend of $3.52 million, the biggest ever for an Allen film. [1]

 

-This was the 25,000th film to be granted a certificate from the British Board of Film Classification for its 1993 video release. [1]

 

-Woody Allen said in an interview that the reason he shot the film the way he did was that he wanted to break the usual rules of filmmaking. He cut scenes right in the middle of dialog, he used hand held cameras for no particular reason and did not care if he showed the side or the back of a performer's head during a scene. Allen said for this reason, he felt this film was one of his best. [1]

-Sydney Pollack stated that although he liked working on the film, he did not like the character he played. [1]

 

-Contrary to general perception, Mia Farrow's role is not autobiographical. Indeed, Woody Allen originally wrote the Judy Davis part with the idea of Farrow playing it. Farrow chose to take on the role of the cuckolded wife instead as it meant less shooting time for her. [1]

 

-Woody Allen wanted to shoot the film in 16mm to give the feel of a documentary to the viewer, but TriStar was against this and made the director shoot in 35mm. [1]

 

-Kristy Swanson auditioned for the role of Rain. She was one of the last two considered, but the role went to Emily Lloyd instead, who was later fired. [1]

 

-Jane Fonda was originally offered the role of Sally. However talks broke down when Fonda and Woody Allen disagreed on the aesthetics of the character. [1]

*[Editor Note: WAW is a web site that celebrates the art of Woody Allen. Although at times we mention aspects of his social life, we try and keep it to a minimum. The majority of critics would probably agree that a person's social/home life has an effect on one's work. As we move into Woody's infamous period of his life which most mainstream audiences only know him by, it would be foolish to completely ignore this time of his life. Our goal is to present a well-rounded and judge-free account of these turbulent times in Woody Allen's life.]

Critical Reception

 

-Husbands and Wives is Woody Allen’s harshest, ugliest movie yet, and, despite its familiar subject matter, feels completely unlike anything he’s directed. [2]

 

-Like a real television documentary, Husbands and Wives was filmed on grainy, handheld cameras, which shake and dart nervously around the room, the actors wear no makeup and are often filmed in harsh light, and the dialogue is inelegant and profane. The result is an incredible urgency. The drama is magnified, and there’s a thrilling sense of spontaneity and unpredictability. [2]

 

-Two Academy Award nominations: Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Judy Davis. Davis was nominated by most other awards-givers as well: BAFTA, Golden Globe, National Critics, etc. [2]

 

-Imdb.com user, Cave Canem posted, “Husbands and Wives is a movie that could cause divorces, and could cause long-term lapses between relationships. If nothing else, it is a film that will make you cringe and squirm.” [1]

 

-Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave it a full four-star review and referred to it as "a defining film for these emotionally embattled times; it's classic Woody Allen."

 

-Todd McCarthy of Variety called it "a full meal, as it deals with the things of life with intelligence, truthful drama and rueful humor.

 

-Husbands and Wives is a culmination of everything Woody has learned about film making up to this point. Although he does many creative films after this, Husbands and Wives is, in a lot of ways, his last true masterpiece (Match Point, Vicky Christina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris have recently bucked this trend). The film joins the exclusive club of Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors that can be uniquely described as a "Woody Allen film." -WAW

 

-Watching it now, Husbands and Wives feels like the third part of a trilogy that started with Hannah and her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors. All three are eclectic, multi-faceted stories of relationships starting and ending, but each is done in a wildly different style. Hannah is effervescent, Crimes is staid and gloomy, and Husbands is raw and unhinged. I’m not sure if it’s the personal subject matter, or just his skill as a filmmaker, but either way, Woody Allen has made something that feels more than any of his other films like a window into his soul. [2]

 

-100% Rotten Tomatoes rating

[1] - imdb.com

[2] - www.EveryWoodyAllenMovie.com

[3] – Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun Times, published on Sept. 18, 1992

[4] – Woody on Woody In Conversation with Stig Bjorkman

[5] – The Unruly Life of Woody Allen by Marion Meade