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"Crimes and Misdemeanors" is actually two movies rolled into one, as Allen masterfully intertwines two very different storylines, one a drama of tragic proportions, and the other, a lighter story with some classy comic moments. Thanks to Allen's keen sense of artistry, the two stories converge and successfully come together in the end as a unified whole. In just under 2 hours "Crimes and Misdemeanors" touches on some of the most perplexing questions of human nature, dealing sensitively with matters of ethics, guilt, fidelity, moral relitivism, conscience, and faith in God. The film does not attempt to spoon-feed answers to its audience, but rather raises some heady and important questions for the veiwer to consider,...even about themselves! Veteran actor Martin Landau is outstanding in the part of Judah, the main character of the more dramatic storyline. Landau pumps some real emotion into his character, so much so that you will truly feel his guilt and paranoia in the aftermath of the "crime" refered to in the title. Also very important to the "tragic" section on the film is Sam Waterston in the role of a Rabbi, in many ways this Rabbi is a pivotal chartcter in the story, as his belief in a morally-structered universe is contrasted with Judah's questionable thoughts and actions. Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, and Alan Alda are the stars of the "alternate" storyline, and each is allowed to shine, thanks to Allen's gift for writing witty and fully-realised dialog. In fact the strained relationship between Allen (as an unsuccessful documentary filmmaker) and Alda (as an Aaron Spelling-esque, award winning TV producer) is one of the films many highlights, and Allen's barely-concealed comtempt for his artistic nemesis makes use of Woody's best comic talents. With all of its philosophical implications and brilliant uses of symbolism (something as simple as a car's headlights going out never resonated with so much meaning!) "Crimes and Misdemeanors" would make a great starting point for an ethical or theological bull session, and in fact many Christians and Orthodox Jews have used the film for just that purpose!

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Special Features * Collectable booklet * Original theatrical trailer * English: mono * French: mono * Spanish: mono * French & Spanish subtitles

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MG1002025 Crimes & Misdemeanors DVD (1989/Woody Allen) $14.95