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The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen$
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Peter J. Bailey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167190

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167190.001.0001

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Strictly the Movies

Strictly the Movies

Play It Again, Sam

(p.17) 2 Strictly the Movies
The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen

Peter J. Bailey

University Press of Kentucky

Play It Again, Sam is presented as the introduction to Allen films in its evolution from his Broadway play and in its use of self-conscious dramatic/cinematic tropes to convey the antinomy between Allan Felix’s lack of self-esteem and his Humphrey-Bogart-in-his-head’s swaggering self-confidence and sexual bravado. Although distinctly a comedy, Play It dramatizes numerous themes to which Allen’s oeuvre will regularly return: the Allen protagonist’s neurotically narcissistic character, his infatuation with beautiful shiksas, his friendship with a male more erotically confident than he is, and the protagonist’s capacity to prevail (“I’m short enough and ugly enough to succeed on my own”) by the end of the film. Play It also introduces the centrality of films and filmmaking in Allen’s movies, while suggesting that their psychological impacts upon viewers are not thoroughly positive.

Keywords:   Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, self-conscious dramaturgy, cinematic allusions, cinematography

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