Forty-two year old Isaac Davis has a romanticized view of his hometown, New York City, most specifically Manhattan, as channeled through the lead character in the first book he is writing, despite his own Manhattan-based life being more of a tragicomedy. He has just quit his job as a hack writer for a bad television comedy, he, beyond the ten second rush of endorphins during the actual act of quitting, now regretting the decision, especially as he isn’t sure he can live off his book writing career.
He is paying two alimonies, his second ex-wife, Jill Davis, a lesbian, who is writing her own tell-all book of their acrimonious split. The one somewhat positive aspect of his life is that he is dating a young woman named Tracy, although she is only seventeen and still in high school. Largely because of their differences a big part of which is due to their ages, he does not see a long term future with her. His life has the potential to be even more tragicomical when he meets journalist Mary.
Manhattan is a 1979 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Woody Allen and produced by Charles H. Joffe. The screenplay was written by Allen and Marshall Brickman. Allen co-stars as a twice-divorced 42-year-old comedy writer who dates a 17-year-old girl (Mariel Hemingway) but falls in love with his best friend’s (Michael Murphy) mistress (Diane Keaton). Meryl Streep and Anne Byrne also star.
Manhattan was filmed in black-and-white and 2.35:1 widescreen. The film features music composed by George Gershwin, including Rhapsody in Blue, which inspired the idea behind the film. Allen described the film as a combination of his previous two films, Annie Hall and Interiors.
The film was met with widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress for Hemingway and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Allen and Brickman. Its North American box office receipts of $39.9 million made it Allen’s second biggest box office hit (after adjusting for inflation). Often considered one of Allen’s best films, it ranks 46th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list and number 63 on Bravo’s “100 Funniest Movies”. In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, Michael Murphy, Meryl Streep, Anne Byrne Hoffman, Karen Ludwig, Tisa Farrow
Screenplay by: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Production Design by: Mel Bourne
Cinematography by: Gordon Willis
Film Editing by: Susan E. Morse
Costume Design by: Albert Wolsky
Set Decoration by: Robert Drumheller
Distributed by: United Artists
Release Date: April 25, 1979