A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy

(USA, 1982, 88 mins, 35mm)
CAST Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Jose Ferrer, Mary Steenburgen, Julie Hagerty, Tony Roberts
Classification: 19+
Introduced by film scholar Michael van den Bos.


For the summer installment of our four-part Woody Allen cycle, one of the warmest and most purely enjoyable films from his mid-career peak. Inspired by his love for Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night (but shot in ravishing colour by the late, great Gordon Willis) this ensemble romantic comedy keeps the period country house setting but reduces the characters to six: two medical swingers, an elderly academic and his much younger fiancée, and a long-married couple whose sex-life has ground to a halt. Allen, of course, plays the frustrated husband (he redirects his energies towards inventing flying bicycles, astral lamps and the like), and gives himself nearly all the funny lines. He spends the rest of the movie satirising the men and adoring the changing moods of the women (including, for the first time, Mia Farrow). Reviewers at the time felt it was light bordering on slight, but today we’re more likely to savour the movie’s warm, romantic and old-fashioned elegance and wit.

"A small treasure."Jeffery M Anderson, Combustible Celluloid