Mini-Review: Take the Money and Run


Take the Money and Run

Comedy, 1969

85 minutes

Starring: Woody Allen, Janet Margolin, Marcel Hillaire, Jacquelyn Hyde

Directed by: Woody Allen

Written by: Woody Allen, Mickey Rose


Take the Money and Run is the first “real” Woody Allen movie, the one whose DNA we can still find traces of in the writer-director’s most current offerings. It’s a straight-up comedy, but not necessarily slight. In fact, it’s one of the first of its kind: a mockumentary that employs a wide variety of gimmicks to create the illusion of authenticity. Using this form, it tells the story of Allen’s failed criminal protagonist, Virgil Starkwell, a crook so pathetic that his attempt at a bank robbery is foiled by his poor penmanship. It features both footage of Starkwell and interviews with those closest to him; the best subjects are his parents, who agree to appear only on the condition that they be allowed to wear Groucho Marx glasses (to conceal their identity).

The gags are plentiful, and usually very clever. One of my favorites is a scene of Virgil in his high school’s marching band: he plays the cello. He struggles—and fails—to keep up with his classmates, sitting down in his chair and playing a single note, then getting up and scrambling to keep his place in the band. It’s simple and silly, but also a brilliant bit of visual humor, which Allen does quite well anyway. The whole film is full of such scenes, and my descriptions can hardly do them justice.

…So go watch it, learn it, enjoy it, and then we can start our own club. The password will be, “Is Kowalski a midget?!”

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: