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Film: Jan 1991 (Argentina)
DVD: Jun 2001
VHS: Jun 2001
Soundtrack: Apr 2004 (2-CD)


Woody Allen


Woody Allen


Mia Farrow (Alice Tate); Alec Baldwin (Ed); Blythe Danner (Dorothy); Judy Davis (Vicki); William Hurt (Doug Tate); Keye Luke (Dr. Yang); Joe Mantegna (Joe); Bernadette Peters (Muse); Cybill Shepherd (Nancy Brill); Gwen Verdon (Alice's Mother); Patrick O'Neal (Alice's Father); Holland Taylor (Helen); Julie Kavner (Decorator); June Squibb (Hilda); Marceline Hugot (Monica)


Alice Tate, mother of two, with a marriage of 16 years, finds herself falling for the handsome sax player, Joe. Stricken with a backache, she consults Dr. Yang, an oriental herbalist who realizes that her problems are not related to her back, but in her mind and heart. Dr. Yang's magical herbs give Alice wondrous powers, taking her out of well-established rut. (Carl Seiler)

Alice is one of Woody Allen's more grounded whimsies, though viewers with a low tolerance for feyness might miss it. Here goes Mia Farrow again as a nattering Manhattanite with a girlie-girlie voice and a well-to-do husband of 16 years (a stockbroker played by William Hurt) who doesn't always notice whether she's in the room. One day a back pain sends her up a dim staircase in Chinatown to see an acupuncturist (the valedictory role of the beloved Keye Luke). He has quite a bag of tricks--including hypnosis and a versatile assortment of herbal teas--and enough insight to recognize that Alice's troubles lie somewhere other than her sacroiliac. Under Dr. Yang's ministrations, Alice goes on a Wonderland voyage through her own life, fantasizing about having an affair with a dusky stranger (Joe Mantegna), flitting about Manhattan as an invisible spirit, and--most unlikely of all--talking straight with her various relatives, past and present.
Like so many Allen films, Alice wavers between scenes imagined with deftness and precision (like Farrow and Mantegna's astonished mutual seduction) and other scenes and notions that are merely touched upon and then abandoned before they can develop any rhythm and complexity, persuade you they were worth including, and justify the presence of so many nifty performers--Judy Davis, Judith Ivey, Gwen Verdon, Robin Bartlett, Alec Baldwin, Holland Taylor, Cybill Shepherd, Blythe Danner, Julie Kavner, Caroline Aaron--who mostly wink in and out again as cameos. Nevertheless, almost all Woody's looking glasses are worth passing through at least once. (Richard T. Jameson,

For 16 years, Alice Tate (Farrow) has been ignored by her husband (Hurt), spoiled by wealth, and tranquilized by boredom. But when she unexpectedly falls for a sexy musician (Mantegna) and impulsively consults a mysterious Chinese herbalist for advice, Alice begins a madcap journey into a strange new world of possibilities. But as she begins to realize who she is and what she values, Alice must also confront her deepest fears and decide how far she'll go for love and what she'll risk to change her destiny. (

Woody Allen's latest picture is an awkward blend of whimsy and moralizing. The title character, played by Mia Farrow, is a pampered Upper East Side lady-who-lunches. She lives in a huge apartment with her handsome husband (William Hurt), her adorable children, and a staff, and she looks terrific. But her life, the movie tells us, is totally empty and false. A Chinatown doctor (Keye Luke) gives her a variety of herbal remedies to knock the yuppie malaise out of her system. One of them makes her invisible; one makes her irresistible to men; and so on. As these fantasy episodes mount up, Alice begins to see how artificial her life is, how far she's strayed from the pure ideals of her Catholic girlhood, how much more love she needs than she has been getting, and what a revolting piece of Wasp slime her husband is. In the end, the heroine seems, incredibly, to have redeemed herself through self-absorption; the movie doesn't benefit from any such miracle. Although there are more jokes here than in any of Allen's last few features, the picture isn't really a comedy; it's a sermon with gags. The large cast also includes Joe Mantegna, Alec Baldwin, Blythe Danner, Judy Davis, Bob Balaban, and Bernadette Peters (who does a sensational brief turn as a cynical muse). (Terrence Rafferty, Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker)




102 min / 106 min (DVD, VHS)

J.S. Bach's Music:

Concerto for violin, strings & continuo No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041
Pinchas Zukerman / English Chamber Orchestra
Pinchas Zukerman (Violin)
Courtesy of Sony Classical, under license from CBS Special Products (a division of CBS Records Inc.)


Film: Color
DVD: (Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Region 1)
VHS: (Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC)
Soundtrack: 2-CD


Film: Orion Pictures Corporation
DVD: MGM (Video & DVD)
VHS: MGM (Video & DVD)
Soundtrack: Import [Generic]


Watch selections:

Buy movie at:

Soundtrack: [2-CD]

Source/Links: IMDB
Contributor: Aryeh Oron (November 2007)

Bach Movies: Bach's Life & Documentaries: Index by Title | Index by Year
Filmed Performances: Index by Work | Index by Main Performer
Bach's Music in Soundtracks: Index by Title | Index by Year
General: Index by Number | Discussions of Movies on Bach


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