Play It Again, Sam (1972)

PG | 84-87 mins | Romantic comedy | 28 April 1972

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writer:

Woody Allen

Producer:

Arthur P. Jacobs

Cinematographer:

Owen Roizman

Editor:

Marion Rothman

Production Designer:

Ed Wittstein
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HISTORY

Throughout the film, "Allan Felix" imagines himself in conversations with Humphrey Bogart, played by Jerry Lacy, and resembling the character of "Rick Blaine" from Bogart's 1943 Warner Bros. picture Casablanca (see above). Play It Again, Sam , which begins with the final scene from Casablanca , makes references to the movie throughout. The film takes its title from a popular quotation, “Play it again, Sam,” which became a cultural phenomenon, even though it never was spoken in those exact words in the original film. In Casablanca , Dooley Wilson, who played "Sam," sang the song "As Time Goes By." That song is heard in Play It Again, Sam , and Wilson is listed in the onscreen credits as the singer. Allan imagines scenes from his life playing out as film parodies; for example, when he thinks about breaking up with "Linda Christie," he fantasizes about it as if it were a scene from a film noir . At another point, he imagines "Dick Christie" killing himself like the husband in A Star Is Born (see below). Some of Allan's dialogue is heard as voice-over narration spoken by Woody Allen.
       Play It Again, Sam was based on the Broadway play of the same name, which Allen wrote and starred in. The play, which was co-produced by Charles Joffe, the film’s executive producer, also starred Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Mari Fletcher and Lacy, all of whom recreated their roles in the film version. It was during the play that Allen first met Keaton, with whom he became romantically involved. After the end of that relationship, the two enjoyed a ... More Less

Throughout the film, "Allan Felix" imagines himself in conversations with Humphrey Bogart, played by Jerry Lacy, and resembling the character of "Rick Blaine" from Bogart's 1943 Warner Bros. picture Casablanca (see above). Play It Again, Sam , which begins with the final scene from Casablanca , makes references to the movie throughout. The film takes its title from a popular quotation, “Play it again, Sam,” which became a cultural phenomenon, even though it never was spoken in those exact words in the original film. In Casablanca , Dooley Wilson, who played "Sam," sang the song "As Time Goes By." That song is heard in Play It Again, Sam , and Wilson is listed in the onscreen credits as the singer. Allan imagines scenes from his life playing out as film parodies; for example, when he thinks about breaking up with "Linda Christie," he fantasizes about it as if it were a scene from a film noir . At another point, he imagines "Dick Christie" killing himself like the husband in A Star Is Born (see below). Some of Allan's dialogue is heard as voice-over narration spoken by Woody Allen.
       Play It Again, Sam was based on the Broadway play of the same name, which Allen wrote and starred in. The play, which was co-produced by Charles Joffe, the film’s executive producer, also starred Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Mari Fletcher and Lacy, all of whom recreated their roles in the film version. It was during the play that Allen first met Keaton, with whom he became romantically involved. After the end of that relationship, the two enjoyed a lifelong friendship and worked together numerous times throughout their careers. Play It Again, Sam marked their first film together.
       In Aug 1968 DV announced that Twentieth Century-Fox had already bought the film rights to the play, which did not open on Broadway until Feb 1969. HR reported on 21 Aug 1968 that Arthur P. Jacobs’ production company, Apjac Productions, had bought the property along with Fox, for $4.5 million. At that point, Allen was mentioned as a possible writer and star of the film, but a Jun 1971 HR article stated that Allen was not set to repeat his stage role. Allen declared in a modern interview that he was not considered to star in the film version until after the success of his film Bananas (1971, see above). Play It Again, Sam is the third of a small number of films in which Allen appeared but did not direct.
       Jack Lieber was announced as the picture’s screenwriter in a May 1970 HR news item, but in a Feb 1971 DV article stated that Lieber had been fired in Sep 1970. He sued Fox for $782,000 in damages and remaining payments. The disposition of the suit has not been determined.
       The Jun 1971 HR article noted that Jacobs was at that point set to produce Play It Again, Sam with Paramount instead of Fox and mentioned Charles Grodin as a co-writer. Although a 19 Aug 1971 HR news item listed New York as the sole shooting location, as noted in contemporary sources, the production was moved to San Francisco due to problems with the motion picture industry’s negotiations with the New York unions. Press materials list specific Bay Area locations, including Sausalito, the San Francisco Museum of Art, Golden Gate Park and the San Francisco International Airport. Although an Oct 1971 DV news item stated that Jessica Mitford and Barnaby Conrad would play themselves, they did not appear in the final film. Modern sources add Tom Bullock to the cast. Reviews were generally laudatory. The NYT reviewer called Allen “the premiere comic intelligence at work in America today.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 May 1972.
---
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1968.
---
Daily Variety
18 Feb 1971.
---
Daily Variety
6 Oct 1971.
---
Daily Variety
21 Oct 1971.
---
Daily Variety
24 Apr 1972.
---
Filmfacts
1972
pp. 299-302.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 1968.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1971
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 1971
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1972
p. 3.
Life
19 May 1972
p. 18.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
26 May 1972.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 May 1972.
---
New Republic
13 May 1972
p. 35.
New York Times
5 May 1972
p. 30.
New Yorker
13 May 1972
pp. 104-106.
Newsweek
8 May 1972
p. 115.
Saturday Review
13 May 1972
pp. 16-17.
Time
15 May 1972
p. 56.
Variety
19 Apr 1972
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Herbert Ross Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
Trainee
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Casablanca incidental mus by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Spec photographic consultant
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Unit pub
Casting
Scr supv
Asst to assoc prod
Estimating auditor
Transportation
Driver
Driver
Locs
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Play It Again, Sam by Woody Allen, produced on the New York stage by David Merrick (New York, 12 Feb 1969).
MUSIC
"Blues for Alan Felix," composed and performed by Oscar Peterson.
SONGS
"As Time Goes By," music and lyrics by Herman Hudfeld, sung by Dooley Wilson.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 April 1972
Production Date:
4 October--late November 1971 in San Francisco
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 March 1972
Copyright Number:
LP40869
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Lenses/Prints
Cameras and lenses by Panavision
Duration(in mins):
84-87
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Allan Felix, a San Francisco film critic, watches the final scenes of Casablanca and finds himself inspired by the manliness and selflessness of the character of Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart. Soon, however, he reverts to his typical neuroses and insecurity, and recalls the recent departure of his wife Nancy, who left him to experience a more exciting life. Wondering how to be more self-confident, Allan imagines Bogart sitting in his room, advising him to treat women like dames. Later, Allan is visited by his best friends, overworked businessman Dick Christie and his wife Linda, a model. Although Dick tries to convince Allan that Nancy’s exodus means Allan is free to play around, Allan complains that he has no luck with women. As Linda, another neurotic, and Allan commiserate and compare medications, Dick obsessively calls his office to report on his exact whereabouts. Although Dick and Linda love each other, she feels abandoned by his constant work schedule. The next day, Dick suggests a double date, and when Allan insists on a blonde with large breasts, Linda points out that girls who look that way often do not have great minds. As Allan imagines Nancy on the back of motorcycle complaining about him to her new boyfriend, Linda decides to invite her photographer’s assistant, Sharon Lake, to dinner. Allan is immediately overwrought with excitement. At home, as Allan worries about the possible outcomes of the evening, Bogart recommends that he remain cool and calm. Allan imagines himself winning over Sharon with his manliness, but by the time of the date, he is verging on ... +


Allan Felix, a San Francisco film critic, watches the final scenes of Casablanca and finds himself inspired by the manliness and selflessness of the character of Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart. Soon, however, he reverts to his typical neuroses and insecurity, and recalls the recent departure of his wife Nancy, who left him to experience a more exciting life. Wondering how to be more self-confident, Allan imagines Bogart sitting in his room, advising him to treat women like dames. Later, Allan is visited by his best friends, overworked businessman Dick Christie and his wife Linda, a model. Although Dick tries to convince Allan that Nancy’s exodus means Allan is free to play around, Allan complains that he has no luck with women. As Linda, another neurotic, and Allan commiserate and compare medications, Dick obsessively calls his office to report on his exact whereabouts. Although Dick and Linda love each other, she feels abandoned by his constant work schedule. The next day, Dick suggests a double date, and when Allan insists on a blonde with large breasts, Linda points out that girls who look that way often do not have great minds. As Allan imagines Nancy on the back of motorcycle complaining about him to her new boyfriend, Linda decides to invite her photographer’s assistant, Sharon Lake, to dinner. Allan is immediately overwrought with excitement. At home, as Allan worries about the possible outcomes of the evening, Bogart recommends that he remain cool and calm. Allan imagines himself winning over Sharon with his manliness, but by the time of the date, he is verging on hysteria. Desperate to appear cool, Allan repulses Sharon with his bizarre utterances and uncontrollable clumsiness. Although he is convinced that she likes him, at the end of the evening she shuts her door in his face. Over repeated phone calls, he and Linda discuss his chances with women, and she suggests that he date her friend Jennifer. That date is even worse, however, as she calls herself a nymphomaniac but then refuses to allow him to kiss her. Allan and Linda go to the museum, where Linda admires his intensity, which is so unlike Dick. Allan asks out a beautiful girl, undeterred by her announcement that she plans to commit suicide that weekend. Days later, Allan, Dick and Linda take a vacation at the beach. Allan and Linda go to a nightclub, but the gorgeous woman on the dance floor rejects his advances. While Dick attends endless meetings, Linda and Allan enjoy each other’s company. She urges Allan to be himself with women, and, knowing it is her favorite animal, he gives her a plastic skunk for her birthday, which she treasures. Dick later reveals to Allan that Linda feels neglected, but that he is too busy to dote on her. Dick sets up Allan with a woman from his office, Julie, and on their date Julie insists on entering a biker bar. There, two rough men harass them and Allan ineffectually attempts to protect his date. Meanwhile, Linda learns that he is on a date, and is surprised to find that she is jealous. When Allan returns, bedraggled and bruised, his comments about the date reduce her to tears of laughter. Back in the city, both Allan and Linda wander their respective homes feeling lonely. One night, Linda comes over, suffering an anxiety attack because Dick is away on a business trip. As they walk in the park, she suggests dinner and movie, and he immediately imagines them kissing. Realizing that he is in love with her but that, as his best friend’s wife, she is off-limits, he is torn between lust and guilt. In the grocery store, Allan pictures Bogart encouraging him to come on to Linda while Nancy insists that Dick will beat him up, then hopefully imagines Dick asking him to look after Linda while Dick leaves to live with his new Eskimo lover. At home, he first prepares a romantic meal for Linda, and then, envisioning her screaming as he tries to kiss her, quickly snuffs out the candles. When Linda arrives she has taken Librium and is light-headed. Nervous, Allan tries to talk her in to leaving the apartment, but when she asks if he believes it is possible to love two people at once, he hears Bogart urging him to kiss her. He does not respond quickly enough, and when he tries again later, the kiss is interrupted by a phone call from Dick. Linda, who is becoming drunk, tells Allan she could only cheat on Dick if she were in love, and Bogart reappears to push Allan into making a move. As Allan apprehensively compliments Linda, he imagines Nancy entering and shooting Bogart. Confused, he lunges at Linda, who pulls away and rushes out. Allan is berating himself when she comes back in and kisses him. They make love, and the next morning discuss how to tell Dick. Allan brings Linda home then walks back to his apartment, feeling uncharacteristically cocky and gregarious. Buying Linda a music box, he runs into Nancy in a store and handles the meeting with aplomb. Later, he frets about how Dick will take the news, imagining him having three different responses: first understanding, then killing himself, then killing Allan. Dick is waiting outside Allan’s apartment, and there confides that he is afraid Linda is having an affair. Seeing his friend’s distress and repentance, Allan calls Linda to instruct her not to leave him, but she is already telling Dick that their marriage is over. When Dick leaves for the airport in response, Linda follows in a cab and Allan rushes after them. In his mind, his cab driver is Bogart, who demonstrates how to let a “dame” down easily, then declares he is proud of Allan for his selflessness. At the airport, the three get to the gate at the same time. Allan tells Linda they must call it off, but she has already reached the same conclusion, and thanks him for helping her realize she still loves Dick. Thrilled finally to have a chance to say the words, he recites the lines from the parting scene of Casablanca , in which Rick tells Ilsa that she will regret not following Victor onto his plane, ending with "Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." Allan then reassures Dick that although he tried to seduce Linda, she rebuffed him. As Dick and Linda walk off into the fog, Allan is joined by Bogart. Allan has finally realized that he can attract a woman by being himself, and so bids farewell to Bogart, who says admiringly, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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