Wild Man Blues (1997)

Original Title : Wild Man Blues
Director : Barbara Kopple
Genre : Documentary
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : J.E. Beaucaire , Jean Doumanian , Kathleen Bambrick Meier
Photography : Tom Hurwitz
MPAA Rating : Rated PG for brief language.
IMDB ID : 0141986
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poster for "Wild Man Blues" by Barbara Kopple (1997)
Wild Man Blues (1997) - Barbara Kopple


Letty Aronson Herself, Woody Allen's Sister
Soon-Yi Previn Herself
Dan Barrett Himself, the Trombonist
Simon Wettenhall Himself, the Trumpeter (as Simon Wettenthall
John Gill Himself, the Drummer and Vocalist
Greg Cohen Himself, the Bassist
Cynthia Sayer Herself, the Pianist
Eddy Davis Himself, the Band Director and Banjoist
Woody Allen Himself, the Clarinetist
John Doumanian Himself (Guest in hotel suite
Martin Konigsberg Himself, Woody Allen's Father (uncredited
Nettie Konigsberg Herself, Woody Allen's Mother (uncredited


Effective documentary This is a documentary account of Allen's tour of Europe with his New Orleans jazz band. Barbara Kopple directs effectively and seems to have the ability to be there at the crucial moment without the scenes looking staged or faked. I do not know if the film is a deliberate attempt to counter the bad publicity Allen received over his affair with the teenage Soon-Yi. Certainly the now 27 year-old Soon-Yi appears to be the dominant one of the partnership like a kindly but strict mother controlling the behaviour of her naughty child. I particularly enjoyed the breakfast scene in Madrid where she gently scolds Allen for not showing sufficient appreciation to the members of his band. She orders Spanish omelette because it seems to be the appropriate thing to have and then makes Allen eat it because it tastes like rubber. The final scene is fascinating with Allen and Soon-Yi back in New York visiting Allen's parents, both in their 90s. Both parents are dismissive of Allen's achievements and his mother confesses that she wanted him to marry a nice Jewish girl. Allen's clarinet playing is variable. He seems to be having trouble with his reed throughout the tour. On good nights he sounds like a reasonable George Lewis imitator, on a bad night in Paris he could barely coax a note out of his instrument. The audiences loved him apart from a bejewelled invited audience in Rome that clapped politely and sat wearing bemused smiles throughout the performance
poster for "Wild Man Blues"
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Wild Man Blues (1997) - Barbara Kopple
poster for "Wild Man Blues"
401 x 570
Wild Man Blues (1997) - Barbara Kopple