There is little doubt that Annie Hall was one of the best films made in the 1970’s. No other film captured the New York lifestyle of that time. And no other film offered such a tender glimpse of the imperfections of young adulthood.
As it turns out, capturing that took an enormous amount of film editing. The original uncut version had all sorts of “other stuff” that was great but not essential to the main theme.
Brickman’s most lamented loss is the Devil’s own guided tour of the nine layers of Hell. Level 5, for instance, was comprised of organized crime, dictators, and people who don’t appreciate oral sex, according to Rosenblum’s book.
A snippet of dialogue between Woody and Carol Kane
Allison: I’m in the midst of doing my thesis.
Alvy Singer: On what?
Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature.
Alvy Singer: You, you, you’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.
Alvy Singer: Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left.
BTW, Annie Hall provides an excellent example of the “fractured storyline”. The reminiscence of what went wrong in life told by the unreliable narrator. This works when the narrator is likable enough to sustain your interest. Mark Twain was brilliant in using this.