Plot: What’s it about?
Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen) lives a good life, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for his love interest, Nancy (Louise Lasser). Mellish works as a consumer products tester and has no serious problems to speak of, but Nancy longs for much more than that from her man. You see Nancy is a staunch political activist and wants her love to be one as well, one strong with leadership qualities. While Mellish tries his hardest to make himself good enough by going to rallies, demonstrations, and other gatherings, it still isn’t enough and Nancy ends up leaving Mellish. In an effort to leave his troubles behind Mellish ventures to the island of San Marcos for a vacation, but finds himself in trouble after all. It seems as though San Marcos is in the middle of a political uprising and Mellish soon becomes part of the rebel faction, whether or not he agrees. The rebels soon claim victory but lose their leader in the process. This leads them to appoint Mellish as their new leader and they believe he has what it takes to make them powerful. Mellish is soon in the hands of the F.B.I. and on trial for his actions, but all he can think about is Nancy…
When it comes to me and Woody Allen movies, I have to say my feelings depend on which Allen shows up to direct the film. If the more serious Allen tackles a story I usually pass, but when comedic Allen is behind the camera…I’m there. This film is a prime example of Allen’s comedic genius and I feel this is his strongest movie. Sure Annie Hall took home the Oscar but this one is loaded with more brilliant and well executed material. This isn’t a dumbed down film either as many of the laughs come from satiric gestures and prods at human relationships. This is one of those movies that just grabs you and never lets go, the humor is instant and never slows down. I love the pace Allen uses in Bananas and I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to create such a consistent and loaded comedy. I don’t think a few seconds pass without a joke or gag in this movie and almost all of them work to perfection. I would have loved this disc to have more bonus materials, but since Allen doesn’t even like to watch his movies once they’re done, I can understand the lack of goodies. I recommend this movie and disc with my highest commendation, this is a must see for all fans of Allen and comedy in general.
This film was directed by Woody Allen, who also helped pen the screenplay along with Mickey Rose. Over the years Allen has gone through phases of different styles and techniques and this film falls into his simplistic comedies, which happen to be my favorite films of his. The focus in this movie is on making folks laugh and Allen succeeds on every front, I feel this is his funniest film of all. The humor varies from complex satire to persona skewing to basic slapstick at times, and I think the styles are meshed and rotated well. In addition to directing and cowriting this comedy classic, Allen also works his magic in front of the camera and does an excellent turn. Allen uses perfect timing for both vocal and sight based gags and brings the essence of his character across very well. If you want more of Allen’s movies and who doesn’t, I recommend Stardust Memories, Sleeper, Love and Death, Manhattan, and Annie Hall. The support cast in this film is solid also and includes Louise Lasser (Mystery Men, Happiness), Carlos Montalban (The Out-Of-Towners), Howard Cosell (Two Minute Warning), and Stanley Ackerman (Stardust Memories).
Video: How does it look?
Bananas is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version included on the disc’s flip side. This is an older movie from Allen’s resume, so some grain and print wear is present though not nearly as much as I expected. The colors seems lush most of the time although some fading is seen, and flesh tones appear natural and distortion free. The contrast is also sharp and well defined, with deep shadows and high visible detail level.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release contains the original mono track, which provides a more than adequate audio experience. This is about as dialogue driven as a movie can be, so the front channels are able to handle all the sound without problems. Some sound effects emerge and they sound crisp and effective, with the music also coming through with no troubles I could note. The dialogue is the true focus though and each word comes through the speakers loud and clear.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains the theatrical trailer and some production notes can be found in the liner insert booklet.