Woody Allen

To what extent is one of the subtexts of Woody Allen's two London films, MATCH POINT and SCOOP, the death of Princess Diana and the belief of a significant number of people that it was murder, and not an accident.

Leaving aside autobiographical leitmotifs in all of his films, the most obvious of which in MATCH POINT and SCOOP is the director's desire for Scarlett Johansson, and who except his wife could blame him for that, the interesting fact of Allen's portrayal of upper-crust aristocrats and wannabes as natural born killers surely must be based on more than his dislike of snobbery, ingrained anti-semitism, unflappability and pretense. Well, perhaps not.

He does go out of his way, however, to make London appear clean and superficially atractive, using only posh and touristic locations. Never a bit of rubbish anywhere to be seen on the streets. And the streets are almost devoid of people. So it is not realism he is aiming at. He gives it a sheen which belies the murderous instincts underneath. Henry James is the obvious figure who comes to mind.

Never a hint of Mike Leigh's London, or of SINGIN'IN THE RAIN's London, ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS, or contemporary London as portrayed by directors like Stephen Frears in his best work, MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE, PRICK UP YOUR EARS, or DIRTY PRETTY THINGS. However, Allen's great early films like ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN were not exactly the ambience of MIDNIGHT COWBOY. Perhaps it is enough that an American film-maker does work with wit and intelligence, if not the compassion, not seen since Preston Sturges or Frank Capra. It is reason enough to keep going to his movies.