Sunday, 11 April 2010

QUOTES (Woody Allen, 1989)

Allen: 'Intrinsic to my understanding of history is this: The Witch never said 'You're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy Gale.'
Minnelli: 'But she did.'
Allen: 'Exactly.'
Minnelli: 'Contrarily, Dorothy did say 'There's no place like home,' several times, but she was lying.'
Allen: 'Of course. Will you marry me?'
Minnelli: 'No-one said anything to make you say that.'
Allen: 'Jimmy Stewart. Philadelphia Story.'
Minnelli: 'Hepburn said no to Jimmy Stewart. She remarried Cary Grant.'
Allen: 'Well we can't all be Cary Grant.'
Minnelli: 'No. Some of us even less so than others.'

Woody Allen and Liza Minnelli in a scene from Quotes.

'The truth is that as a filmmaker (if not as a performer), Woody Allen has almost no personality of his own. Respect him as we may for preferring pastiche (or imitation as the sincerest form of flattery) in a period when the American cinema has capitulated to the whorish charms of parody (or imitation as the sincerest form of derision) , we ought not to elevate a pasticheur's talent into the temperament of an authentic artist. Allen is Zelig, Zelig is Allen. Brought into contact with Bergman, he turns into Bergman (Interiors, Another Woman); with Fellini, he turns into Fellini (Stardust Memories, Radio Days); with Pabst, he turns into Pabst (Shadows and Fog)... and so it has always gone. Zelig however, is the exception that once truly does prove the rule, and so Quotes is a rare stride towards something else, as if there exists in Allen a true original he is straining to supress. Quotes is Allen's career writ large and exploded, a cavalcade of every filmmaker he loves at once, a collection of brilliant techniques that serves to provide a mixed salad, avec dressing, with a small man in glasses sitting in sorrow in the middle.' Gilbert Adair, Flickers

'QUOTES is a blast. Take an inspired idea- the referencing of everybody else, and I mean everybody else- pepper with a gag or two, then stew in wit for aeons, and voila! a Cannes hit that will make minor rewards in Western territories. But Allen, for once, goes further, and his intricate web of references and borrowed dialogue becomes something beyond postmodern or meta.' Geoffrey Standage, The Sunday Times

'Allen alienates adroitly and aims angry arcs at any anti-Allenists (and Allenist alike) attending, acutely aware at all affects an arrogant audience anticipates. A+' Arsula Andress, San Francisco Chronicle

'Allen of course, must know that his presence in his own movie can cheapen his directorial nous somewhat, in that his verbal prodding can sometimes replace what greater directors do from behind the camera. But he is also smart enough to know that this gives him something to, and Quotes allows him to provide a director's cut from within. His character can talk about film style as he himself gives us film that contradicts that style.' Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

''If bad puns a comedian doth make, then Allen is very funny indeed.' Here's one for you: Waiting for Godard.' Blixten Tongstress, Twice Weekly

'Allen never gives us three chords and the truth; three chords and the Truffaut, maybe. Even his tenderest moments are not wrought with any feeling other than nervous self-examination, leaving his voice to be that of a whinnying karaoke singer. Which as we all know, can be perversely poignant.' Mark Kermode, Videodrome

'If we see Allen's work as a schizophrenic dance between Bergman and something sillier, then this boils it down to the barest credentials. Insipid and inspired. A petulant stamp from an undergrown intellectual. Four stars.' Tom Bonnet, Sight & Sound

'Only eternal love between Farrow and Allen would provide the trust necessary for her to don that particular outfit and say those particular lines.' Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun

'Allen used to have a stand-up line that he re-used over and over, he liked it so much: 'I'm not scared of death... I just don't want to be there when it happens'. Well, he has been there when it happened many times: Hollywood Ending, Match Point and Whatever Works, to name but three deaths. But every time I reach back for Annie Hall or Manhattan I only feel sad for an auteur now lost. Only Quotes keeps me excited. It is an enigma, a flashing message not quite understood.' Paul Auster, Notes on Film Signs

'You know, people ask me who I am, and I presume it is a trick question. So then they ask what kind of man I am, and I realize that if they think I'm a man then I've actually tricked them.' Woody Allen

Quotes Directed by Woody Allen Produced by Robert Grenhut Written by Woody Allen, Mia Farrow Starring Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Liza Minnelli Orion Pictures/Warner Brothers Release Date UK/US: Mar 1989 99 mins Tagline: 'Umm.. I Really Don't... I Gues Yuo Need Something For The Poster... Use Something From Ben Hur.'


  1. I like it. Good use of quotes for Quotes. Did Woody Allen really say that? Or did you make it up? It's a good one, nonetheless.

  2. Did he really say that or am I making it up?

    You have to understand, distinctions like that matter very little when you're as far into this game as I am.

    I'd have to google it, but I believe I 'made it up'. It could of course be something someone else said, or something I misheard on a bus.