Woody Allen, the man behind a simply staggering amount of films during a career that spans over four decades and still continues to grow, is probably best known for his 1977 masterpiece 'Annie Hall'. The success of 'Annie Hall' established the New York born writer/director as one of America's most important film makers. The film brought a more serious side to a Woody Allen picture, showcasing more complex characters and a deeper story. Of course, there was a Woody before that film, making eight movies from 1965 to 1975. This early work helped to develop his skills and find his comedic voice, producing endless humour and philosophical conundrums. Here I take an individual look at each of those first eight films.
1. What's New Pussycat? (1965)
Woody Allen's film debut, 'What's New Pussycat?' was released in 1965 and included an outlandish plot along with a long list of crazed characters. The film had some big name actors of the time and the plot centers around Michael James (Peter O'Toole), a shallow womanizer who finds himself jumping into bed with almost every woman he meets, despite trying desperately to stay faithful to his fiancé. The inept psychiatrist Dr. Fritz Fassbender (Peter Sellers) provides some laughs, as does the shy neurotic Victor (Woody Allen) but the movie on the whole doesn't really hold up. The story is raw, the majority of the jokes are too easy and at nearly two hours long, it spirals off into a complete farce at the end. Although Allen is credited with writing the script, he has often stated that his original dialogue was chopped and changed, with many jokes and lines being removed or replaced, claiming he could have made a much better and funnier movie if he would have been left alone with the writing. Still, Allen needed a breakthrough and as silly as 'What's New Pussycat?' is at certain times, it's certainly watchable and offers a few hilarious 'Woody-Esque' lines to remember. Also, the beautiful backdrop of Paris offers the viewer some great scenery as consolation.