Woody Allen's Five Greatest Musical Moments
Today Woody Allen's latest film, Blue Jasmine , his 45th directorial effort in as many years, opens in Houston at the Landmark River Oaks Theatre. The living legend's tireless output has led to a hit-or-miss career, but his highs have been so high as to make him one of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers in history. Blue Jasmine looks like no exception, already generating Oscar buzz for Allen and star Cate Blanchett.
Woody Allen in Annie Hall.
As a massive fan, I'll be attending on opening day, but in the meantime I've been making it a point to watch all of Allen's films. It's not small feat considering their number, and I'll be at it well after Blue Jasmine premieres, but it's an endlessly rewarding treasure trove.
It's also intensely gratifying as a music fan, as Allen is a passionate fan and musician himself who inserts all sorts of brilliant musical moments into his films. Thus, I decided to make a small selection of the ones I consider to be his greatest out of a great catalog.
5. Nick Apollo Forte in Broadway Danny Rose
Allen's tribute to old Hollywood talent managers begins with this song by Nick Apollo Forte, who co-stars as Lou Canova, a past-his-prime lounge singer who gets a sudden career revival by a nostalgia craze, a story which should be familiar to us all in 2013.
The song pops up in the film, performed by Forte with zest and zeal throughout, along with many covers of classic crooner tunes. Forte is exceptional in his role, but Allen, of course, steals the show as his guilt-ridden, endlessly optimistic manager who will support any artist regardless of his or her marketability, something I wish we heard more about in 2013.
4. The Chameleon
Hidden in Allen's oft-overlooked early-'80s period piece, Zelig, is this amazingly accurate look at pop novelty songs of the 1930s. Allen's character in the film, the titular Leonard Zelig, is a literal human chameleon, adapting himself to the mannerisms and even physical traits of anyone he is around as a psychological coping mechanism.
His bizarre condition sets in motion a wave of popularity in America, which inspires many fictional songs that meticulously recreate the sound of such novelty acts of the era. This one, "Chameleon," even features a popular dance to accompany it, another feature of many old novelty tracks.