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Archive for Saturday, May 4, 2002

Woody Allen reflects on films

May 4, 2002

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Woody Allen, one of the funniest and most influential directors of the last century, discusses his movies, sense of humor and work ethic in the documentary "Woody Allen: A Life in Film" (7 p.m., today, Turner Classic Movies).

The normally reclusive Allen opens up for a 90-minute, clip-rich interview, conducted by filmmaker and film critic Richard Schickel. As you might expect, the documentary begins with Allen's "early, funny" comedies. Allen describes "Take the Money and Run" and "Bananas" as highly structured pieces, designed to present one gag after another. While many critics have discussed his many influences, which include Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Frederico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman, Allen admits to blatant imitation of Bob Hope. Accompanied by clips from "Sleeper" and "Love and Death," Allen explains how he shamelessly stole Hope's timing, material and style.

Viewers looking for insight into Allen's scandalous love life will not find it here. But the acerbic Allen is quite frank about the doomed view of relationships that he presents in films including "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan," as well as his dark take on a Godless universe, as explored in "Crimes and Misdemeanors."

In addition to "A Life in Film," Turner Classic Movies will present 18 Woody Allen films throughout the month on Saturday nights. "Annie Hall" (8:30 p.m.), "Manhattan" (12 a.m.) and "Stardust Memories" (2 a.m.) will air this evening.

Come on in, the water's fine! Sir David Attenborough narrates the spectacular and captivating four-hour special "Blue Planet: Seas of Life" (6 p.m., Discovery). Almost every moment of this film features scenes of jaw-dropping beauty.

The four-part "Blue Planet" series includes "Seasonal Seas" (6 p.m.), "Coral Seas" (7 p.m.), "Tidal Seas" (8 p.m.), and "Coasts" (9 p.m.). The first four installments of "Blue Planet," which aired in January, can be seen on Discovery, beginning at 2 p.m.

A young filmmaker, inspired by her parent's decision to put vinyl siding on their Long Island, N.Y., home, examines the side-effects of plastic manufacturing in the probing, if often smug, first-person documentary "Blue Vinyl" (9 p.m., HBO).

Tonight's highlights

Jocks have moms, too. Athletes, including Shaquille O'Neal, Mia Hamm and Drew Bledsoe, discuss their relationship with their mothers in the documentary "Apple Pie" (11 a.m., ESPN).

A boy who sees dead people (Haley Joel Osment) copes with the help of a therapist (Bruce Willis) who has problems of his own, in the clever 1999 thriller "The Sixth Sense" (7 p.m., ABC).

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones star in the empty 1997 summer blockbuster "Men in Black" (8 p.m., NBC).

"America's Most Wanted" (8 p.m., Fox) anticipates its 700th captured criminal.

William Shatner appears on the chat show "So Graham Norton" (10 p.m., BBC America).

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