This file was generated 2002-10-15 05:03 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2002-04-28.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> May 1999 >> Love and Death
What Sleeper did for the future in 1973, Love and Death did for the past in 1975. Both feature Woody Allen with a twentieth-century mentality surrounded by period people. Sleeper was a little better about giving him an excuse to have said mentality, but it hardly dampens the humor in Love and Death. Some of the plot details, including the climax, are also strangely close to Sleeper. Allen taps Ingmar Bergman's works as a source for humor, but I can't tell you how successfully. I can tell you that some shots that I believe to be in the style of Bergman are ruined in the pan-and-scan version. I've also been told of a visual joke that is completely eliminated by the limited width of 4:3. Try to get your hands on a widescreen presentation!
The music of Sergei Prokofiev nicely counters Allen's New York accent to set the Russian mood. I wish my knowledge of Prokofiev, and especially Lt. Kije, was more complete so I could explain some of the funnier correlations of music and scenery. I should mention that the performances of the music seem to be reasonably good with some intentional screw-ups to make them sound more amateur.
What a surprise to see James Tolkan as Napoleon, even if I couldn't quite remember where I'd seen him. He was the school principal in Back to the Future. He also turns up in WarGames as the government guy who muses that David meets many of the criteria for recruitment by the Soviets.