This Monday I bring you a film from the 80's by Woody Allen. I am actually not a Woody Allen fan usually, this being the only movie of his that I have actually given my full attention to and own. My Dad loves this movie and that is probably the reason I saw it and came to love it myself. He says it reminds him of his childhood and our large family....he's right. Besides the fact that this is a delightfully endearing film because of the plot and the acting, it is also a visual treat for anyone who loves and embraces the 1940's. This movie is a love letter to the 40's, the radio and to family. You will recognize many well known actors in this film as well, not just from the Woody Allen stable. Watching a little Seth Green is priceless, especially when you think at how he has grown. I love the romance crazy, music and marriage obsessed character of Aunt Bea, played perfectly by Diane Wiest. Her clothes are simply to die for and they represent what the average young woman would have worn back then.
Woody Allen's sentimental reminiscence about the golden age of radio. A series of vignettes involving radio personalities is intertwined with the life of a working class family in Rockaway Beach, NY circa 1942.
The Narrator tells us how the radio influenced his childhood in the days before TV. In the NYC of the late 1930s to the New Year's Eve 1944, this coming-of-age tale mixes the narrator's experiences with contemporary anecdotes and urban legends of the radio stars.
Even though the narrator's Jewish American family lives modestly in the Queens neighborhood of Rockaway Beach, each member finds in radio shows an escape from reality through the gossip of celebrities, sports legends of the day, crooners, etc. For the narrator, the action adventurers on the radio inspire him, as he daydreams about his attractive substitute teacher, movie stars, and WW2. Meanwhile, the story of an aspiring radio star's career is also told, along with the tale of the narrator's aunt Bea and her search for love.
The musical score features songs from the 1930s and 40s, which play an important part in the plot. I can't watch this movie without singing along actually.
For more information on the time period when this movie is set, referred to as "The Golden Age of Radio", click here