Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

A film about humanity.

Original Title : Crimes and Misdemeanors
Director : Woody Allen
Writer : Woody Allen
Genre : Comedy
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Robert Greenhut (I) , Charles H. Joffe , Thomas A. Reilly , Helen Robin , Jack Rollins (II)
Photography : Sven Nykvist
IMDB ID : 0097123
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poster for "Crimes and Misdemeanors" by Woody Allen (1989)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - Woody Allen


Bill Bernstein Testimonial Speaker
Martin Landau Judah Rosenthal
Claire Bloom Miriam Rosenthal
Stephanie Roth Sharon Rosenthal
Gregg Edelman Chris
George J. Manos Photographer (as George Manos
Anjelica Huston Dolores Paley
Woody Allen Cliff Stern


Opthalmologist Judah Rosenthal has had an affair with Dolores for several years, and now she threatens to ruin his life if he doesn't marry her. When his brother Jack suggests to have Dolores murdered, Judah is faced with a big moral dilemma : destruction of his life or murder. Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker Clifford Stern is trying to make a film of a philosophy professor, but instead he's commissioned to make a portrait of succesfull TV producer and brother-in-law Lester, who to Clifford represents everything that he despises.


Possibly Woody's Best Its only competition, IMO, are Annie Hall and the underrated Husbands and Wives. Crimes and Misdemeanors is most notable for its rather original narrative structure: there are two plots that have only the most tenuous connections. The first has Martin Landau as a prominent ophthamologist trying to break off an affair without harming his rather happy marital relationship. The woman, played by Anjelica Huston, is desperately in love with him and threatens him when he tries to leave. The other story involves a documentary filmmaker (Woody Allen) falling in love with his producer (Mia Farrow) while he is making a film about his rich-as-hell, television producer brother-in-law (Alan Alda). The first plot is a melodrama, the second a comedy. Allen has made plenty of films in both sections, but here he mixes them in a perfect balance. We get one chapter of the Landau story, one of Woody's, and then on and on until they meet (for the first time) in a final setpiece. The structure isn't 100% unique, though - I'm almost positive Woody got it from the William Faulkner novel Wild Palms (aka If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem). The themes of the film are the ever-present ones of Woody's career, but, as always, they're fascinating. The film is entirely dramatically effective. It blew me away, quite frankly.
poster for "Crimes and Misdemeanors"
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Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - Woody Allen
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Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - Woody Allen