Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

PG-13 | 104 mins | Comedy-drama | 13 October 1989

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen

Producer:

Robert Greenhut

Cinematographer:

Sven Nykvist

Editor:

Susan E. Morse

Production Designer:

Santo Loquasto
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HISTORY

       The end of the film features a voice-over narration by the character "Professor Louis Levy," transposed over a scene of blind Rabbi "Ben" dancing with his daughter at her wedding, and several clips from the film: “We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale. Most of these choices are on lesser points, but we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are in fact the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, human happiness does not seem to have been included in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying, and even to find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.”
       Referring to the picture as Woody Allen Untitled ’88, HR production charts on 10 Jan 1989 stated that principal photography began 3 Oct 1988 in New York City, and on 10 Mar 1989, Backstage reported that production on Allen’s Brothers was nearly complete. At that time, the filmmakers were scheduling reshoots to take place over two weeks. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, New York City locations included the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the HBO Studios, Central Park’s Tavern on the Green, and One Fifth restaurant near Washington Square. A 30 Oct 1989 People news item noted that actress Sean Young had been cast ... More Less

       The end of the film features a voice-over narration by the character "Professor Louis Levy," transposed over a scene of blind Rabbi "Ben" dancing with his daughter at her wedding, and several clips from the film: “We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale. Most of these choices are on lesser points, but we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are in fact the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, human happiness does not seem to have been included in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying, and even to find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.”
       Referring to the picture as Woody Allen Untitled ’88, HR production charts on 10 Jan 1989 stated that principal photography began 3 Oct 1988 in New York City, and on 10 Mar 1989, Backstage reported that production on Allen’s Brothers was nearly complete. At that time, the filmmakers were scheduling reshoots to take place over two weeks. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, New York City locations included the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the HBO Studios, Central Park’s Tavern on the Green, and One Fifth restaurant near Washington Square. A 30 Oct 1989 People news item noted that actress Sean Young had been cast in the film, but her role was ultimately deleted in editing. The picture’s publicist explained that Young worked only two days on the film for a finale sequence, but Allen “decided he didn’t want to go in that direction.”
       The film was nominated for three Academy Awards in the following categories: Actor in a Supporting Role (Martin Landau), Directing, and Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

      End credits include: "The producers wish to thank the following for their assistance: New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture & Television Development; the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting; City of New York Parks & Recreation, Albert G. Ruben Insurance Co., Inc.; General Camera Corp.; Star Lighting Enterprises, Ltd.; On Location Education; Eastern Airlines; Art Sculptures by Yael Morris; Paintings by Nancy Morris-Gunkeleman; Clips from 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' & 'The Last Gangster' provided by Turner Entertainment Co.; Clips from 'This Gun for Hire,' 'Francis' & 'Happy Go Lucky' provided by MCA/Universal City Studios; Clip of Mussolini provided by Sherman Grinberg Libraries, Inc.; The Harry Fox Agency, Inc.; EMI Music Publishing; The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel; William K. Everson, Ben Hayeem & Howard Mandelbaum."
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Backstage
10 Mar 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jan 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 1989
p. 32.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 1989
p. 4, 15.
Los Angeles Times
13 Oct 1989
p. 12.
New York Times
13 Oct 1989
p. 19.
People
30 Oct 1989
p. 3.
Variety
11 Oct 1989
p. 32.
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
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam asst trainee
Still photog
Projectionist
Key grip
Dolly grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Negative matching
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Prop master
Const coord
Standby carpenter
Chief const grip
Master scenic artist
Standby scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Cost asst
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
MUSIC
Mus coord
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Asst to Mr. Allen
Loc mgr
Loc scout
Loc scout
Casting assoc
Addl casting
Addl casting, Todd Thaler Casting
Casting asst
Casting asst
Asst prod coord
Asst prod auditor
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Film researcher
Film researcher
Film researcher
Studio mgr
Craft service
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
MUSIC
“English Suite No. 2 In A Minor,” by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Alicia De Larrocha, courtesy of London Records, a division of PolyGram Classics
“Quartet No. 15 In G Major, Op. 161, D.887,” by Franz Schubert, performed by The Juilliard Quartet, courtesy of CBS Masterworks, under license from CBS Special Products, a division of CBS Records, Inc.
“Cuban Mambo,” by Xavier Cugat, Rafael Angulo & Jack Wiseman, performed by the Wedding Band.
SONGS
“Rosalie,” by Cole Porter, performed by the Jazz Band
“Taking A Chance On Love,” by Vernon Duke, John LaTouche & Ted Fetter
Excerpt from the soundtrack of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” by Edward Ward, provided by Turner Entertainment, Co.
+
SONGS
“Rosalie,” by Cole Porter, performed by the Jazz Band
“Taking A Chance On Love,” by Vernon Duke, John LaTouche & Ted Fetter
Excerpt from the soundtrack of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” by Edward Ward, provided by Turner Entertainment, Co.
“I Know That You Know," by Vincent Youmans, Anne Caldwell O’Dea & Otto A. Harbach, performed by Bernie Leighton
“Dancing On The Ceiling,” by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart, performed by Bernie Leighton
“Home Cooking,” by Hilton Ruiz, performed by The Hilton Ruiz Quartet
“I’ve Got You,” from the soundtrack of “This Gun for Hire,” by Frank Loesser & Jaques Press
“Happy Birthday To You,” by Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill
“This Year’s Kisses,” by Irving Berlin, performed by Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra, courtesy of Hindsight Records, Inc.
“Sweet Georgia Brown,” by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard & Kenneth Casey, performed by Coleman Hawkins & His All-Star Jam Band, courtesy of Pathé-Marconi & Capitol Records, Inc., under license from CEMA Special Markets
“All I Do Is Dream Of You,” from the soundtrack of “Singin’ In The Rain,” by Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed, provided by Turner Entertainment Co.
“Beautiful Love,” by Victor Young, Wayne King, Egbert Van Alstyne & Haven Gillespie
“Murder He Says,” from the soundtrack of “Happy Go Lucky,” by Frank Loesser & Jimmy McHugh, vocal by Betty Hutton
“Great Day,” by Vincent Youmans, William Rose & Edward Eliscu, performed by Bernie Leighton
“Star Eyes,” by Don Raye & Gene DePaul, performed by Lee Musiker
“Because,” by Guy D’Hardelot & Edward Teschmacher, performed by Lee Musiker
“Crazy Rhythm,” by Irving Ceasar, R. Wolfe Kahn & Joseph Meyer, performed by the Wedding Band
“Polkadots And Moonbeams,” by Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke, performed by the Wedding Band
“I’ll See You Again,” by Noel Coward, performed by the Wedding Band
“I’ll Be Seeing You,” by Sammy Fain & Irving Kahal, performed by Liberace, courtesy of MCA Records.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Brothers
Woody Allen Untitled '88
Release Date:
13 October 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 13 October 1989
Production Date:
3 October 1988--early March1989 in New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
2 January 1990
Copyright Number:
PA447419
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses & Panaflex® cameras by Panavision®; Prints by DeLuxe®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29986
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, wealthy ophthalmologist Judah Rosenthal prepares for a gala event, celebrating a new hospital wing named in his honor, and constructed with contributions from his philanthropic organizations. Looking through the mail, Judah discovers a letter addressed to his wife, Miriam, written by his longtime mistress, Dolores Paley. After burning the letter, Judah attends the ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria hotel and relishes the accolades of his colleagues and family. In his acceptance speech, he explains his decision to become an eye doctor, noting that he is a devout scientist, skeptical of religion, but that his Jewish upbringing taught him “the eyes of God are on us always.” Sometime later, Judah confronts Dolores in her apartment, but she is incensed that he never left his wife, as promised, and argues that the delay has caused her years of missed opportunities. Elsewhere, high-minded documentary filmmaker Clifford “Cliff” Stern and his wife, Wendy, attend a cocktail party with her two brothers, an egotistical, prosperous television producer named Lester, and a modest rabbi, Ben, who is becoming blind and seeking treatment from Judah. Although Cliff detests Lester, he agrees to direct a public television documentary about his brother-in-law to finance his own film about an obscure aged philosopher, Professor Louis Levy. Sometime later, Judah confesses his predicament to Ben during an ophthalmology appointment, claiming that Dolores will destroy his personal and professional life. Ben encourages the doctor to come clean with Miriam, and to relish the opportunity to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Acknowledging the difference between the two men’s philosophies, Ben admits he would be unable to live unless he ... +


In New York City, wealthy ophthalmologist Judah Rosenthal prepares for a gala event, celebrating a new hospital wing named in his honor, and constructed with contributions from his philanthropic organizations. Looking through the mail, Judah discovers a letter addressed to his wife, Miriam, written by his longtime mistress, Dolores Paley. After burning the letter, Judah attends the ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria hotel and relishes the accolades of his colleagues and family. In his acceptance speech, he explains his decision to become an eye doctor, noting that he is a devout scientist, skeptical of religion, but that his Jewish upbringing taught him “the eyes of God are on us always.” Sometime later, Judah confronts Dolores in her apartment, but she is incensed that he never left his wife, as promised, and argues that the delay has caused her years of missed opportunities. Elsewhere, high-minded documentary filmmaker Clifford “Cliff” Stern and his wife, Wendy, attend a cocktail party with her two brothers, an egotistical, prosperous television producer named Lester, and a modest rabbi, Ben, who is becoming blind and seeking treatment from Judah. Although Cliff detests Lester, he agrees to direct a public television documentary about his brother-in-law to finance his own film about an obscure aged philosopher, Professor Louis Levy. Sometime later, Judah confesses his predicament to Ben during an ophthalmology appointment, claiming that Dolores will destroy his personal and professional life. Ben encourages the doctor to come clean with Miriam, and to relish the opportunity to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Acknowledging the difference between the two men’s philosophies, Ben admits he would be unable to live unless he believed in a “higher power” that overshadows science and logic. Still, Judah remains petrified and offers Dolores financial compensation for her “losses.” Refusing the pay off, Dolores threatens to expose Judah as an embezzler, who surreptitiously diverted funds from his own charities. Judah defensively claims he repaid the “loans” with interest. Elsewhere, documentarian Cliff Stern grudgingly films an interview with Lester, who defines comedy as “tragedy plus time.” As Cliff calls an end to the shoot, Lester flirts with associate producer Halley Reed, but she refuses his advances. Relieved to be free of Lester, Cliff introduces himself to Halley and wonders why her program would jeopardize its integrity, producing a show about his arrogant brother-in-law. Cliff admits he is using the job to finance a documentary about Professor Levy and later shows Halley footage of the old man, who claims that humans have historically failed to create an unconditionally loving image of God because they have little faith in the sentiment. Halley agrees that Levy would be a perfect subject for her series, and offers to produce the documentary with Cliff. Elsewhere, Judah meets his Mafia-connected brother, Jack, who suggests they employ a hired killer to resolve Judah’s conflict with Dolores. Although he refuses, Judah is later terrified when Dolores telephones his house from a nearby gas station and threatens to confront Miriam in person. He then calls Jack to approve the killing. Meanwhile, Cliff suffers through Lester’s endless revelations about success and comedy as he falls in love with Halley. Back at his studio, Cliff shows her another interview with Levy, but the screening is interrupted by Lester, telephoning Halley for a date. She agrees to meet Lester at his hotel, but Cliff detains her by projecting a print of the musical film Singin in the Rain. At the same time, across town, Dolores is murdered in her apartment, and Judah learns that his “problem” is solved. Stunned and remorseful, Judah excuses himself from a family gathering and sneaks into Dolores’ apartment to recover incriminating evidence. Back at Judah’s office, Ben is troubled by the likelihood he will be blind before his daughter’s wedding. When the rabbi asks about Judah’s predicament, the doctor claims Dolores amicably ended the affair. Unknown to his family and friends, Judah remains wrought with guilt and visits his childhood home, now owned by a stranger. There, he remembers a Passover Seder celebration, where his cynical, leftist Aunt May argued against the existence of God because six million Jews were killed in the holocaust. Judah imagines himself asking the family if a man can get away with murder if he is never incriminated. Aunt May responds that unprosecuted killers will not suffer unless they feel remorse. Despite the logic of her argument, Judah’s father declares he will always choose to believe in God’s words, even if they contradict “truth” in the real world. Returning to work, Judah is interviewed by a police detective who found his telephone number in Dolores’ records, and the officer is satisfied by Judah’s alibi. Elsewhere, Cliff checks his telephone message service and is devastated to learn that Professor Levy, steward of truth and happiness, has committed suicide, leaving behind a note that says: “I’ve gone out the window.” Halley consoles Cliff at his studio and he attempts to kiss her, but she claims to be unprepared for a relationship and leaves. Sometime later, Cliff shows Lester an insultingly comedic “authorized” cut of his biographical documentary, which juxtaposes the producer’s hypocrisy and philandering with newsreel footage of dictator Benito Mussolini and Francis the Talking Mule. Outraged, Lester fires his brother-in-law. Although Cliff is still married, he proposes to Halley, but she announces her decision to leave New York City for a job in London, England. Four months later, Cliff and Wendy prepare to divorce, but jointly attend the wedding banquet of their niece, Ben’s daughter, again located that the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The rabbi, now entirely blind, welcomes Judah and Miriam to the party. As Cliff overhears that Lester paid for the wedding, he notices his nemesis enter the banquet room with Halley, who Lester introduces to another partygoer as his fiancée. Shocked and despondent, Cliff accuses Halley of exploiting Lester’s success, but she argues that he is a good man. Sometime later, Cliff drinks in a vacant room adjoining the party, when Judah steps inside to smoke a cigarette. Cliff jocularly declares he is planning “the perfect murder” and Judah reveals his own story as if it was fiction, stating that the protagonist suffered terrible guilt after the murder and feared punishment from God. However, his remorse dissipated and he became more prosperous. Cliff points out that the story’s resolution proves the protagonist’s worst fear -- that the world is devoid of spiritual righteousness – but Judah argues that in the real world, men must rationalize their actions to keep living. Cliff remarks that he would end the story as a tragedy, with the man turning himself over to the police because he loses faith in God, and must therefore assume the responsibility of determining right from wrong himself. As Judah walks away with his doting wife Miriam, he responds that tragic finales only occur in movies. In the real world, there is no such thing as a happy ending. +

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

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