Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Whatever Works

Whatever Works: The Misanthrope as Pygmalion meets Eliza Doolittle. Larry David as Boris Yelnikoff and Evan Rachel Wood as Melody.

Whatever Works / Whatever Works. US © 2009 Gravier Productions. P: Perdido Productions. P: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum. D+SC: Woody Allen. DP: Harris Savides – camera: Arricam LT, Cooke S4 Lenses – lab: Technicolor (Hollywood), Technicolor (New York) – colour – 1,85:1. PD: Santo Loquasto. AD: Tom Warren. Set dec: Ellen Christiansen. Cost: Suzy Benzinger. Makeup: Rosemary Zurlo. Hair: Robert Fama. VFX: Big Film Design – Randall Balsmeyer. M: no score music written for the movie; soundtrack listing see beyond the jump break. S: Robert Hein. ED: Alisa Lepselter. Casting: Ali Farrell, Laura Rosenthal, Juliet Taylor.
    C: Larry David (Boris Yelnikoff), Evan Rachel Wood (Melody St. Ann Celestine), Patricia Clarkson (Marietta Celestine), Henry Cavill (Randy Lee James), Michael McKean (Joe), Conleth Hill (Leo Brockman), Olek Krupa (Morgenstern), Ed Begley, Jr. (John Celestine), Christopher Evan Welch (Howard Cummings / Kaminsky), Carolyn McCormick (Jessica), Jessica Hecht (Helena), Samantha Bee (Chess Mother), Adam Brooks (Boris' Friend), Lyle Kanouse (Boris' Friend).
    Loc: Manhattan: Chinatown, East Village, Greenwich Village (New York), Kaufman Astoria Studios (Queens).
    Helsinki premiere: 23.10.2009 Maxim 1, released by FS Film Oy with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Anna-Leea Heinonen / Joanna Erkkilä. – VET 218010 – S – 2535 m / 93 min.
    The KAVA print deposited by FS Film viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Woody Allen), 29 May 2013

Antoine Douaihy: the producers gratefully acknowledge and wish to thank for their assistance: "Marietta's Photographs" - Female Figures, "Untitled #1" through "Untitled #12" and Male Figures, "Untitled #13" through "Untitled #18" (as Antoine L. Douaihy)

Cristobal Gabarron: the producers gratefully acknowledge and wish to thank for their assistance The Gabarron Foundation artwork.

The Misanthrope as Pygmalion: Larry David plays Boris, the bad-mouthed, hypochondriac New York misanthrope who meets Melody, a naïve teenage runaway from Mississippi. Evan Rachel Wood has fun creating her personal version of the dumb blonde stereotype. She is so innocent that she is immune to Boris. In the most perfect mismatch imaginable, Boris and Melody get married... for a year.

Woody Allen finds original ideas for comedy when the impressionable teenager Melody starts to copy Boris's mannerisms. Even Boris is dumbfounded.

The satire expands when Melody's reactionary parents appear in Manhattan. First the mother Marietta (Patricia Clarkson) really discovers herself as a photographic artist specializing in montage exhibitions about sexuality. Then the even more reactionary father John appears, and soon comes out as gay. Whatever Works, along with Vicky Cristina Barcelona, belongs to the key films of Woody Allen in themes of homosexuality. The coming out scenes are funny and liberating.

There is a lot to laugh about. - Always when Beethoven's Fifth is played, fate actually knocks on the door. - The three-shot in the taxi with Boris, Melody, and John is memorable with incredulous expressions. - John: "Job's wife is my favourite character in the Bible".

Although shot on film, there is a strange quality in the image: either it is one generation too far duped, or speedprinted, or it has been processed via a digital intermediate (not credited). The 1,85:1 ratio has to be adjusted carefully to avoid appearances of boom mikes.

"Hello I Must Be Going"
From the Original Soundtrack Animal Crackers
Written by Bert Kalmar (as Bert Kalmer) & Harry Ruby
Performed by Groucho Marx and Cast
Courtesy of Universal Studios

"If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)"
Written by Henry Creamer & James P. Johnson
Performed by Jackie Gleason
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music

"Auld Lang Syne"
(from the motion picture Radio Days)
Arranged by Dick Hyman
Performed by Dick Hyman & His Orchestra
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Music Inc.

"Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral' - Molto Vivace"
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Courtesy of Extreme Production Music

"Salty Bubble"
Written by Ray Ronnei
Performed by Tom Sharpsteen and His Orlandos
Courtesy of the Family of Luther T. Sharpsteen

"Butterfly By"
Written by Heinz Kiessling
Performed by Heinz Kiessling
Courtesy of Extreme Production Music

"Happy Birthday To You"
Written by Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill
Performed by Larry David

"Honeymoon Swoon"
Written by Werner Tautz
Performed by Werner Tautz
Courtesy of Extreme Production Music

"Buttmeat Boogie"
Written by Kent Buchanan (as Kent Bucchanon)
Performed by Kent Buchanan (as Kent Bucchanon)
Courtesy of Extreme Production Music

Written by Paul Taylor and Angela Maria Engelman
Performed by Angela Maria Engelman
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource

"Wedding March"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (as Felix Mendelssohn)
Performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Courtesy of Extreme Production Music

"Symphony No. 5 in C Minor"
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Courtesy of Chesky Records & Manhattan Production Music

Written by Antonio Carlos Jobim & Newton Mendonca
Performed by Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises

"Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year"
Written by Frank Loesser
Performed by Red Garland
Courtesy of Concord Music Group, Inc.

"Menina Flor"
Written by Luiz Bonfá (as Luiz Floriano Bonfá), Maria Helena Toledo (as Maria Helena De Toledo) & Giorgio Calabrese
Performed by Charlie Byrd
Courtesy of Concord Music Group, Inc.

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