(1971) Woody Allen.

Bananas Woody Allen VHS backcoverIt is easy to forget that Woody once was married to Louise Lasser, and accordingly she was featured in his early films. In Bananas, she is a young collegiate dabbling in lefty politics and Zen Buddhism and women's lib. Woody, as Fielding Mellish, just wants to get her in the mood: his response to Louise expounding upon her study of philosophy: "Do you like Chinese?"

Shamelessly knockabout when ladies are mugged on the subway:

Mellish is shamefully knockabout transacting porno:

Bananas is a ripe example of Woody putting his nightclub act into movie form - scenes are tied together with punchlines and zingers. Mellish has a recurring dream, where he is bound to a cross and carried on the shoulders of cowled figures down a NYC sidestreet - but his fantasy of religious sacrifice is thwarted when a rival crucifixion comes along and tries to take his own death pageant's parking space. It is as if a scene from a Woody Allen short story finding life in the script.

Woody's directing style is vintage late 60s/early 70s, hip and slapdash, delightfully old-fashioned though the political schtick is timeless - especially in the wise use of Howard Cosell, color commentating the Mellish honeymoon:

Mellish is put on trial for his treasonous activities and goes pro se:

Louise Lasser's Nancy is whiny, humorless, shallow and is only interested in Fielding when she mistakes him for a courageous revolutionary leader - she is one of Woody's least cerebral female relationships and the most marginal of his infamous companions; and it only emboldens Fielding Mellish as a classic total hysterical loser.

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