Critical Reaction:

 

-NY Times film critic Vincent Canby wrote, “making ‘Interiors’ took great courage.” [5]

 

-No other critic gave Woody credit for courage or anything else for that matter. It was universally panned. [5]

 

-“It was mixed critical success here. It opened up, and there were some critics that liked it very much. But this was also the first time that I came up with a significant amount of negative press.” –Woody Allen [4]

 

-Penelope Gilliatt called the film “a giant step forward” in American cinema. [5]

 

-Pauline Kael said it reminded her of a “handbook of art-film mannerisms.” [5]

 

-Stanley Kauffmann called it a “tour of the Ingmar Bergman Room at the Madame Tussaud’s Wax museum. [5]

 

-John Simon called the “disaster perpetrated on a gullible public by a man with a Bergman complex. The hackneyed dialogue, the derivative camera work, and the sorry acting of Diane Keaton (a vacuum cleaner in heat). [5]

 

-UA’s Steve Bach called it a “bore” and ‘just hated it.” [5]

 

-“…People were so shocked and so disappointed with me that I broke my contract with them, my implicit deal with them. And this particularly this kind of drama. It’s not the kind of drama Americans like very much anyhow. What passes for drama in America is something, more television style, soap opera kind of things. Interiors was not the usual kind of affair. So not only were people annoyed at me – their lovable comic figure – for having the pretension to try something like this, but giving them this kind of drama as well.” Woody Allen [4]

 

-Woody said felt the response to “Interiors’ was a “shame. ” [4]

 

-The reaction to the film put Woody in a bad mood. He grumped the critics were not charitable. [5]

 

-Woody had a hard time hiding his anxiety about “Interiors.” He refused autographs and was even ore so removed from the public. His relationship with editor Ralph Rosenblum came to a head. Their decade long partnership came to an end. Some held Woody responsible for Rosenblum being snubbed for a Oscar nomination for the film. Rosenblum began publically taking credit for much of Woody’s best work. After he departed, Woody set up his own editing bay. By this time Woody had learned a great deal from Rosenblum about editing and began to take over most of the duties (with help from Rosenblum’s mid-twenties assistant, Susan Morse). [5]

 

-“Interiors” has a 75% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The lowest rated Woody Allen film before “Interiors” has a 89% rating (Bananas, Everything…).

 

-The movie cost UA $10 million and only made $4.6 million back. [5]

 

-“Interiors” was  nominated for 5 Academy Award: Original Screenplay (Woody Allen), Director (Allen), Actress in a Leading Role (Geraldine Page), Actress in a Supporting Role (Maureen Stapleton), and Art Direction. It did not win any.

 

-77% Rotten Tomatoes rating

"Interiors" Screening Companion

-Released in United States August 2, 1978

-Runtime: 93 mins

-Production Company: A Jack Rollins-Charles H. Joffe Production

-Distributor: United Artists

-Rated PG

- Budget: $10 million [1]

-Gross: $10.4 million [1]

- Aspect Ratio:  1.85 : 1

-“Interiors” (1978) is comedic writer/director Woody Allen's first serious dramatic film, and is a stylistic homage to the films of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, who’s films Woody greatly admired.

 

-Throughout the early 1970s [Woody] had suffered numerous personal crises watching films by Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman and then looking at his own films (which at the time were comedies like Bananas and Sleeper) and asking himself “what am I doing?” With “Annie Hall” he had wanted to make something deeper and more meaningful, but throughout the writing, filming and producing, he found himself “retreating to the safety of broad comedy.” [2]

 

-Woody didn’t meet any resistance from UA about making a drama. Woody says the UA execs said, “You’ve made some funny films, and now you feel like you want to try something else. You’ve earned it. Go ahead.” [4]

 

-The huge success of “Annie Hall” now fully allowed Woody to make any movie he wanted.

 

-Woody Allen was known for comedy, and wanted to break the mold by having no humor at all in this picture. At one point the family is gathered around the table laughing at a joke which Arthur has just told, but we never hear the joke. [1]

 

-This is the first film directed by Woody Allen in which he does not also appear as an actor. [1]

 

-The character of Eve (The Mother) was created by Woody Allen with 'Ingrid Bergman' in mind. He offered her the role, but she regretfully declined, as she was already committed to shoot Autumn Sonata in Norway with Ingmar Bergman. The part went to Geraldine Page instead, and then both she and Bergman were nominated for those films for Academy Awards and Golden Globes. Both lost out to Jane Fonda (who won for Coming Home) [1]

 

-It was Diane Keaton who suggested the film's title to Woody Allen. [1]

 

-Gordon Willis, Annie Hall’s cinematographer, works with Allen again on this movie. Some familiar devices remain — the long unbroken shots, the reactive camera — but a completely different effect is achieved. During long, spontaneous-sounding conversations between family members who move freely in and out of frame, we feel like we’re naturalistically watching a family fall apart without any filter in between. [2]

 

-The camera also has a tendency to stay back from the action, making everything feel cold and removed, like it’s there but would rather not be. [2]

 

-This is also the first movie where Allen as a director has had to push actors to give serious performances. [2]

 

-In the biography Woody Allen by Eric Lax, Allen's longtime editor Ralph Rosenblum comments on Allen's desire to make a serious film: "Even before he made a movie, he had that Bergmanesque streak. He was going to make funny movies and pull the rug at the very end. I wasn't shocked by the original end of Take the Money and Run (where Virgil is machine-gunned), but I thought it was stupid. But that's something he has carried through all his movies and he will finish his life making serious movies. He says that comedy writers sit at the children's table and he's absolutely right about that. He wants to be remembered as a serious writer, a serious filmmaker. He managed to rescue Interiors, much to his credit. He was against the wall. I think he was afraid. He was testy, he was slightly short-tempered. He was fearful. He thought he had a real bomb. But he managed to pull it out with his own work. The day the reviews came out, he said to me, 'Well, we pulled this one out by the short hairs, didn't we?' [3]

 

-“Interiors was what I wanted to do and the best I could do it at the time. I wanted to work in dramatic films a little bit. I didn’t want to work in them most of the time, but I wanted it to be part of my production. And I was not going to start off with any half-hearted measure. I was not going to do a little bit of dram or a conventional drama or a commercial drama. I wanted to go for the highest kind of drama.” Woody Allen [4]

 

-Woody and Gordon Wells almost called the film “Windows.” As the film opens and closes with them. [4]

 

-Woody never considered playing a role in “Interiors.” He says, audiences see him as a comedic actor and as soon as he appeared on screen they would have laughed – essentially killing any dramatic tension. [4]

 

[1] - imdb.com

[2] – “Every Woody Allen Movie” website

[3] – TMC

[4] – “Woody Allen on Woody Allen” by Stig Bjorkman

[5] – “The Unruly Life of Woody Allen: A Biography” by Marion Meade