Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

PG-13 | 106 mins | Comedy-drama | 7 February 1986

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen

Producer:

Robert Greenhut

Cinematographer:

Carlo Di Palma

Editor:

Susan E. Morse

Production Designer:

Stuart Wurtzel
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HISTORY

The film features intermittent voice-over narration and title cards.
       On 23 Oct 1984, DV announced that principal photography began 18 Oct 1984 in New York City, even though writer-director Woody Allen’s usual director of photography, Gordon Willis, was still shooting James Bridges’s Perfect (1985, see entry). Hannah and Her Sisters marked the first Woody Allen picture since Love and Death (1975, see entry) that was not filmed by Willis. Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985, see entry), which was shot just before Hannah and Her Sisters, was Willis’s final picture for the director.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Hannah and Her Sisters was filmed entirely on location in New York City, and a 7 Mar 1986 NYT article dedicated to the movie’s sites listed the following: Pier 62, the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, Tower Records (1965 Broadway), the Ansonia Building (2109 Broadway), Pomander Walk (95th Street), Columbia University (Amsterdam Avenue and 116th Street), 150 Nassau Street, a loft on 80 Grand Street, Grove Street, the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library (425 Avenue of the Americas), La Colonna Restaurant (17 West 19th Street), the CBGB music club (315 Bowery), the Pageant Book and Print Shop (109 East Ninth Street), the Little Church Around the Corner (1 East 29th Street), Shubert Alley (Broadway and 44th Street), the New York Yacht Club (37 West 44th Street), the Chrysler Building (405 Lexington Avenue), the Graybar Building (420 Lexington Avenue), Alwyn Court (Seventh Avenue and 58th Street), Sheep Meadow in Central Park, 5 East ... More Less

The film features intermittent voice-over narration and title cards.
       On 23 Oct 1984, DV announced that principal photography began 18 Oct 1984 in New York City, even though writer-director Woody Allen’s usual director of photography, Gordon Willis, was still shooting James Bridges’s Perfect (1985, see entry). Hannah and Her Sisters marked the first Woody Allen picture since Love and Death (1975, see entry) that was not filmed by Willis. Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985, see entry), which was shot just before Hannah and Her Sisters, was Willis’s final picture for the director.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Hannah and Her Sisters was filmed entirely on location in New York City, and a 7 Mar 1986 NYT article dedicated to the movie’s sites listed the following: Pier 62, the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, Tower Records (1965 Broadway), the Ansonia Building (2109 Broadway), Pomander Walk (95th Street), Columbia University (Amsterdam Avenue and 116th Street), 150 Nassau Street, a loft on 80 Grand Street, Grove Street, the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library (425 Avenue of the Americas), La Colonna Restaurant (17 West 19th Street), the CBGB music club (315 Bowery), the Pageant Book and Print Shop (109 East Ninth Street), the Little Church Around the Corner (1 East 29th Street), Shubert Alley (Broadway and 44th Street), the New York Yacht Club (37 West 44th Street), the Chrysler Building (405 Lexington Avenue), the Graybar Building (420 Lexington Avenue), Alwyn Court (Seventh Avenue and 58th Street), Sheep Meadow in Central Park, 5 East 62nd Street, the O’Connor Johnson Research Foundation (11 East 62nd Street), a building on 65th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, the Abigail Adams House (421 East 61st Street), York Avenue and 72nd Street, the Carlyle Hotel, the jogging track at the Central Park reservoir, Jackson Hole Restaurant (1270 Madison Avenue), and Mount Sinai Hospital. Production notes added the RCA Building at 30 Rockefeller Center, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and actress Mia Farrow’s apartment. Farrow’s mother, Maureen O’Sullivan, portrayed “Hannah’s” mother in the film, and Farrow’s seven children reportedly appeared in the movie, but only Daisy Previn, Moses Farrow, and Fletcher Previn are listed in end credits. As noted in a 30 Oct 1984 LAHExam brief, Sam Waterston was not credited onscreen for his cameo role as “David,” and a 4 Mar 1985 DV news item reported that Tony Roberts did not wish to be billed as a cast member, although he played the part of “Mickey’s” writing partner.
       A 2 Apr 1985 DV brief reported that actor Michael Caine had recently returned to New York City to shoot a new ending for the picture.
       The film was completed and ready for release by late-Nov 1985, according to a
3 Jan 1986 NYT column, but distributor Orion Pictures delayed the opening to 7 Feb 1986 to maximize bookings. At that time, it was standard practice to give Woody Allen films a limited release in New York City, Los Angeles, CA, and occasionally Toronto, Canada, before a national opening. However, Orion believed Hannah and Her Sisters had greater commercial potential than its predecessors and planned the largest and most accelerated release of a Woody Allen production to date, as stated in an 11 Feb 1986 DV article. On its opening day, the film debuted on fifty-four screens nationwide, and Orion was set to increase that number to 200 by 21 Feb 1986. The distributor planned to have as many as 700 prints in circulation. In addition, Hannah and Her Sisters was only the second Woody Allen film after A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982, see entry) to be advertised on television.
       The picture was received with critical acclaim, and performed well at the box office. It was nominated for four Academy Awards including Art Direction, Film Editing, Directing, and Best Picture, and won three Academy Awards for Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Caine), Actress in a Supporting Role (Dianne Wiest), and Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen).
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “Segment from the opera Manon Lescaut by Puccini filmed at the Regio Theatre of Turin, Italy; The Orchestra of Regio Theatre conductor – Angelo Campori, director – Carlo Maestrini, sets – Pasquale Grossi, costumes – Tirelli Costumes, Rome.” End credits conclude with: “The producers gratefully acknowledge and wish to thank the following for their assistance: The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; Chappell & Co., Inc.; CBS Robbins Catalog Inc.; General Camera Corp.; Lee Lighting America Ltd.; Albert G. Ruben Insurance Co., Inc.; Alta Marea Productions, Inc.; On Location Education, Inc.; Summit Waterproofing & Restoration Corp.; Frederick’s oils courtesy of Marshall Arisman; Frederick’s drawings courtesy of Randall Rupert; the choir of the Church of the Transfiguration, John Gordon Morris, Choirmaster.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1984.
---
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1985.
---
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1985.
---
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 1986
p. 3, 18.
LAHExam
30 Oct 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Feb 1986
p. 1, 17.
New York Times
3 Jan 1986.
---
New York Times
7 Feb 1986
p. 4.
New York Times
7 Mar 1986.
---
Variety
22 Jan 1986
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion® Pictures release
A Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Addl photog
Key grip
Dolly grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Projectionist
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Prop master
Standby scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Asst sd ed
MAKEUP
Make-up des
Hair des
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
Scr supv
Asst to Mr. Allen
Prod auditor
Assoc to Mr. Kurland
Loc coord
Loc scout
Loc scout
Loc scout
Loc scout
Asst prod coord
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Casting asst
Addl casting
Transportation capt
Asst to prod auditor
Asst to Mr. Wurtzel
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“You Made Me Love You,” by Joseph McCarthy & James V. Monaco, performed by Harry James, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
“I've Heard That Song Before,” by Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne, performed by Harry James, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
“Bewitched,” by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
+
SONGS
“You Made Me Love You,” by Joseph McCarthy & James V. Monaco, performed by Harry James, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
“I've Heard That Song Before,” by Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne, performed by Harry James, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
“Bewitched,” by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
“Just You, Just Me,” by Raymond Klages & Jesse Greer
“Where Or When,” by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
“Concerto For Two Violins & Orchestra,” by J. S. Bach, the Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Vassil Kazandjiev, solo violins: Georgi Badev & Stoika Milanova, courtesy of Monitor Records
“Back To The Apple,” by Frank Foster & Count Basie, performed by Count Basie & His Orchestra, courtesy of Roulette Records, Inc.
“The Trot,” by Benny Carter, performed by Count Basie & His Orchestra, courtesy of Roulette Records, Inc.
“I Remember You,” by Johnny Mercer & Victor Schertzinger, performed by Dave Brubeck, courtesy of Fantasy Records
“Madame Butterfly,” by Puccini, performed by Rome Opera Chorus & Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli, courtesy of EMI Records, Inc.
“Concerto For Harpsichord In F Minor,” by J. S. Bach, performed by Leonhardt Gustav, Leonhardt – Consort, courtesy of Teldec Schallplatten GMBH
“You Are Too Beautiful,” by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
“If I Had You,” by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly & Ted Shapiro, performed by Roy Eldridge
“I’m In Love Again,” by Cole Porter, “I’m Old Fashioned,” by Jerome Kern & Johnny Mercer
“The Way You Look Tonight,” by Jerome Kern & Dorothy Fields
“It Could Happen To You,” by Johnny Burke & James Van Heusen
“Polkadots And Moonbeams,” by Johnny Burke & James Van Heusen
“Avalon,” by Vincent Rose, Al Jolson & B. G. De Sylva
“Isn’t It Romantic,” by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 February 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 February 1986
Production Date:
began 18 October 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
21 May 1986
Copyright Number:
PA288772
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by DeLuxe®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27862
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, a selfless, seemingly infallible housewife named Hannah hosts Thanksgiving for friends, family, and her two sisters, the neurotic and perpetually unemployed actress, Holly, and the beautiful yet directionless Lee. While Hannah tends to her guests, she is unaware her that husband, Elliot, is admiring Lee from afar. In the coming months, Elliot pursues his infatuation by staging a chance meeting with Lee and buying her a collection of E. E. Cummings poems, with directions for her to read a romantic sonnet that reveals his true feelings. Although Lee is flattered, she is bound to Frederick, a reclusive, curmudgeonly painter, who loathes social norms and prides himself on being the girl’s intellectual tutor. Lee is insecure about her naiveté, and her failure to compete with Hannah’s brilliance, so she is reluctant to end her dependency on Frederick, but Elliot vows to take care of her. When Elliot confesses he has fallen out of love with Hannah because she is too self-sufficient, and promises to end the marriage, Lee acquiesces to the affair. Back home, however, Elliot is unable to leave Hannah, who has been caring for four children, her alcoholic mother, Norma, and her sister, Holly, who struggles with audition rejections, failed relationships, and drug addiction. With Hannah’s support, Holly and a close friend named April start a catering company and meet a party guest named David. The architect shows interest in both ladies and takes them on a tour of New York City landmarks, but he selects Holly as his regular date at the opera. Delighted by the budding relationship, Holly returns to the audition circuit, ... +


In New York City, a selfless, seemingly infallible housewife named Hannah hosts Thanksgiving for friends, family, and her two sisters, the neurotic and perpetually unemployed actress, Holly, and the beautiful yet directionless Lee. While Hannah tends to her guests, she is unaware her that husband, Elliot, is admiring Lee from afar. In the coming months, Elliot pursues his infatuation by staging a chance meeting with Lee and buying her a collection of E. E. Cummings poems, with directions for her to read a romantic sonnet that reveals his true feelings. Although Lee is flattered, she is bound to Frederick, a reclusive, curmudgeonly painter, who loathes social norms and prides himself on being the girl’s intellectual tutor. Lee is insecure about her naiveté, and her failure to compete with Hannah’s brilliance, so she is reluctant to end her dependency on Frederick, but Elliot vows to take care of her. When Elliot confesses he has fallen out of love with Hannah because she is too self-sufficient, and promises to end the marriage, Lee acquiesces to the affair. Back home, however, Elliot is unable to leave Hannah, who has been caring for four children, her alcoholic mother, Norma, and her sister, Holly, who struggles with audition rejections, failed relationships, and drug addiction. With Hannah’s support, Holly and a close friend named April start a catering company and meet a party guest named David. The architect shows interest in both ladies and takes them on a tour of New York City landmarks, but he selects Holly as his regular date at the opera. Delighted by the budding relationship, Holly returns to the audition circuit, but she is out-shined by her more talented friend April, who soon becomes the object of David’s affection. Devastated, Holly abandons her catering business and her ambition to become an actress. Elsewhere in New York City, Hannah’s former husband, Mickey, struggles with his own despair and hypochondria. When a doctor reports he is in perfect health, the good news does not relieve Mickey’s anxiety, and he questions the meaning of life. Mickey’s ensuing existential crisis leads him to quit his job as a successful television producer and embark on a spiritual quest, dabbling in Catholicism and the Hare Krishna cult. Reflecting upon his failed relationships, Mickey remembers his troubled marriage to Hannah, and her disappointment at his diagnosis of infertility. Due to Mickey’s inadequate sperm count, the couple was forced to father twin sons through artificial insemination. Mickey’s writing partner donated the semen, but he disowned Mickey, backing out of their pact in favor of a lucrative deal in California. The crisis contributed to the downfall of Mickey and Hannah’s marriage, and when they separated, Hannah encouraged him to pursue Holly. However, their first date was a disaster, with Holly snorting cocaine all evening and Mickey insulting her taste in music. As Mickey continues to survey his past and search for enlightenment, Hannah works to maintain her family’s wellbeing. She meets her sisters for lunch, where Holly asks Hannah to finance her new writing career. Holly becomes enraged when Hannah is reluctant to support yet another of her creative endeavors. While Holly complains about Hannah’s good fortune, and suggests her blessed life has made her an elitist, Lee tearfully declares that Hannah has troubles of her own, and begs Holly to be kind to their sister. Although Hannah remains unaware of the problems Lee is referring to, she appreciates her sister’s compassion and agrees to take over Holly’s expenses to end the conflict. At home, Hannah observes tensions in her marriage, but Elliot reassures her of his devotion and fails to make good on his vow to Lee, who has grown tired of waiting for the promised divorce. Hoping to become more independent, Lee enrolls in college courses and starts dating a professor. Nearly one year after the affair began, Hannah is still ignorant of her husband’s betrayal and hosts another Thanksgiving party. However, she is furious at Holly, whose first script is a fictionalized account of the family that exposes intimate details about Hannah’s marriage. Condemning her sister’s insensitivity and exploitation, Hannah asks Holly to reveal the source of her information, since she wrote about secrets known only by Elliot, and Holly admits she heard the stories from Lee. Meanwhile, Lee corners Elliot at the party and ends their romance because she has fallen in love with her professor. When Hannah confronts Elliot about his confessions to Lee, he justifies his behavior without admitting to the affair. Still reeling from Lee’s rejection, Elliot warns Hannah that she is too stoic and encourages her to fulfill her own needs instead of tending to others. That evening in bed, Elliot declares his unwavering devotion to Hannah, and they make love, restoring their marital bliss. As the sisters go about their lives in the coming year, Holly runs into Mickey at a music store and asks her former brother-in-law for feedback on a new script, hoping he will use his production connections to aid her writing career. Holly explains that she abandoned her first screenplay because she did not wish to hurt Hannah. Mickey is surprised by how much he likes her new story about an ill-fated love triangle between two friends and their architect suitor. As Mickey reconnects with Holly, he admits that his existential crisis ended during a failed suicide attempt: Holding a gun to his head, Mickey reconsidered killing himself and prayed for proof of God’s existence, but the gun suddenly misfired in his sweaty hand. When the bullet hit the wall instead of his head, Mickey experienced a profound sense of wonder and walked around New York City to clear his mind. Resting at a movie theater, Mickey viewed the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup with newfound joy, and came to appreciate the absurdity and uncertainty of life. Time passes, and the family reconvenes at Hannah’s apartment for another Thanksgiving dinner. There, Hannah and Elliot’s relationship is stronger than ever, Lee is married to her professor, and Mickey is Holly’s new husband. As Holly steps aside to preen herself in a hallway mirror, Mickey kisses her neck, reflects upon the unpredictability of love, and is astonished to discover that Holly is pregnant. +

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

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