Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Movies Go to the Movies: Annie Hall

In his exhaustively researched documentary on the depictions of the city of Los Angeles throughout cinema history, Los Angeles Plays Itself, director-narrator Thom Andersen comments on the above image from Woody Allen's Annie Hall as the ultimate cheap shot, an attempt at depicting the city as a cultural wasteland in comparison to the director's beloved New York and it's constant Sorrow and the Pity/Fellini/Bergman programming, which begs the question, did the Woodman ever pay a visit to Manhattan's 42nd Street during the 70's and 80's?

As for myself, I wonder if Allen isn't making a subtler comment about Hollywood by specifically choosing House of Exorcism. For those unaware, famed Italian genre filmmaker Mario Bava made a very haunting and dreamlike film named Lisa and the Devil, which when showed at Cannes was met with a baffled response. It was considered too strange to be a horror film and too fantastic to be an art film. So Lisa was taken away from him and reshot with another filmmaker to insert gross out sequences to cash in on the worldwide success of The Exorcist. Okay, in all likelihood Anderson's assessment is correct, but a guy can speculate.

I haven't been able to get the specific name or location of the theatre featured here, damn you Google! And Woody for that matter for not including the theatre's title in this shot, if you know or care to speculate, please comment. My best guess is the Baldwin in Baldwin Hills, but unless it went through some architectural renovation since this picture, I don't think that's right.

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