Sunday, June 09, 2013
Sleeper (1973 film)
Directed and starring Woody Allen and written by Allen and Marshall Brickman, Sleeper is the story about a health food store owner who was frozen for 200 years only to wake up in a totalitarian state where things are going very wrong. Based on H.G. Wells’ When the Sleeper Wakes, the film is a parody on the world of science fiction films while playing up the idea of a man trying to change the world that he has no idea about. Also starring Diane Keaton, John Beck, Marya Small, and Susan Miller. Sleeper is a witty yet farcical sci-fi comedy from Woody Allen.
The revolves a health food store owner named Miles Monroe (Woody Allen) who is awoken 200 years later in 2173 where the world is in a totalitarian state. After evading government forces who had kidnapped the doctors who had woken him up, Monroe disguises himself as a robot where he falls for a socialite named Luna Schlosser (Diane Keaton) whom he later kidnaps as they try to find the rebel group to overthrow the dictator who had been ruling the country. Along the way, mayhem ensues as Monroe bumbles his way through situations while Luna would discover things outside of her rich world.
The screenplay that Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman create plays up to a world where the rich are oblivious about the realities they’re living in while there are those that know the truth. For Miles, he is baffled by the future as he observes everything around him while there’s a lot in the future that makes no sense to him except for the people around him. With no identity in the future, he is believed to be an alien until he convinces Luna as she begins to question about her world where she is later taken by the rebellion. There’s a lot of satire in not just the idea of totalitarianism but also the idea of revolution where Miles is someone who knows a lot about its flaws.
Allen’s direction in the film is definitely stylish in not just the way he presents 23rd Century America with its cars and buildings but also the idea that the future is sort of off-kilter. While he incorporates some slapstick comedy in his approach to humor including Miles’ own antics and reactions towards machines. Still, there are some interesting compositions that Allen creates to play up an element of comical suspense as well as the fact that he’s making fun of the idea of revolutions. Notably as he creates moments where he’s not afraid to make fun of genres or be quite silly as far as sex is concerned where his character gets a chance to get inside an orgasm scene. There’s also gags that often keeps working that involves a bazooka connected to some detonator and it always go wrong which suggest that even in the future, nothing works. Overall, Allen creates a very smart and hilarious film about dystopia and the idea to be human.
Cinematographer David M. Walsh does excellent work with the photography from some of the lighting schemes of the interiors to the more natural setting in its exterior scenes. Editors Ralph Rosenblum, O. Nicholas Brown, and Ron Kalish do amazing work with the editing to create some rhythmic cuts for some of the film‘s funny moments as well as a few montages for some of the character based moments. Production designer Dale Hennesy and set decorator Gary Moreno do fantastic work with the look of the futuristic homes and bases along with the cars to create this strange idea of the future.
Costume designer Joel Schumacher does nice work with the costumes where it does play to that sense of absurdity in the hairstyles and clothes in a party scene as well as the clothes of the revolutionaries. Sound mixer Jason Solomon does terrific work with the sound to create the idea of the future in some of the hospital and factory based scenes along with more natural sounds in its locations. The film’s music by Woody Allen is brilliant work with the music as it’s mostly a playful approach to ragtime jazz music that is quite comical.
The casting by Lynn Stalmaster is superb as it features a voice appearance from Jackie Mason as a robot, Susan Miller as a government aide accompanying Miles after he’s been captured, Mayra Small and Mary Gregory as a couple of doctors Miles meets early in the film who tells him to go to the rebels, and John Beck as the revolutionary leader that Luna falls for inspiring jealousy from Miles. Finally, there’s the duo of Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in marvelous performances with Keaton as the very naïve Luna who deals with her situation as she’s later introduced to revolutionary ideas. Allen as the surprised Miles as a man who is wakes up after being frozen for 200 years as he tries to comprehend everything. The two together make a great comic duo where they have wonderful chemistry while not being afraid to be very silly with one another.
Sleeper is a remarkable film from Woody Allen that is definitely one of his finest films and one of his great collaborations with Diane Keaton. The film isn’t just a smart satire in the world of dystopia but also a very funny film that plays to how silly the idea of a futuristic world can be. It’s also a film that isn’t afraid to go into slapstick while creating some witty commentary about revolutions, politics, and religion. In the end, Sleeper is a sensational film from Woody Allen.
Woody Allen Films: What's Up Tiger Lily? - Take the Money and Run - Bananas - Everything You Always to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) - Love and Death - Annie Hall - Interiors - Manhattan - Stardust Memories - A Midsummer’s Night Sex Comedy - Zelig - Broadway Danny Rose - The Purple Rose of Cairo - Hannah & Her Sisters - Radio Days - September - Another Woman - New York Stories: Oedipus Wrecks - Crimes & Misdemeanors - Alice - Shadows & Fog - Husbands & Wives - Manhattan Murder Mystery - Don’t Drink the Water - Bullets Over Broadway - Mighty Aphrodite - Everyone Says I Love You - Deconstructing Harry - Celebrity - Sweet & Lowdown - Small Time Crooks - The Curse of the Jade Scorpion - Hollywood Ending - Anything Else - Melinda & Melinda - Match Point - Scoop - Cassandra’s Dream - Vicky Cristina Barcelona - Whatever Works - You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger - Midnight in Paris - To Rome with Love - Blue Jasmine - Magic in the Moonlight - (Irrational Man)
The Auteurs #24: Woody Allen Pt. 1 - Pt. 2 - Pt. 3 - Pt. 4
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