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suppliedTitle,Manhattan Murder Mystery

Manhattan Murder Mystery

Woody Allen had intended to make a murder mystery as far back as the early 1970s. When progress on his first attempt stalled, he dreamed up the Russian farce Love and Death (1975). Both Annie Hall (1977) and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) were conceived originally as whodunits but many more years would pass before Allen could realize a long-held career goal with Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) - a working title that stuck. The prolific filmmaker's highly publicized split from on-and-offscreen companion Mia Farrow led to Allen drafting his Annie Hall and Manhattan (1979) leading lady, Diane Keaton - with the pair playing a middle-aged Manhattan couple whose suspicions are aroused by an elderly neighbor's sudden death. Filmed in extended takes with hand-held cameras, Allen delivered a whip smart satire of amateur sleuths bungling their way towards the truth and an endearing meditation on the disappointments of middle age. Chock-a-block with film references (among them nods to The Lady from Shanghai [1947], Rear Window [1954], and Vertigo [1958]), Manhattan Murder Mystery also benefits from a supporting cast of veteran and fledgling performers, among them Anjelica Huston, Alan Alda, and an 18-year old Zach Braff as Allen and Keaton's college-bound son.

By Richard Harland Smith

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