Unless you’re intensely dedicated to cinema’s poet laureate of angst, there’s a good chance some Woody Allen work has passed you by. Before Magic in the Moonlight arrives next Friday — and instead of, say, finally watching Don’t Drink the Water — catch up with a title you’d have never seen in the first place: Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story, a 26-minute, 1972 PBS special. Only his third official directing credit, the helmer’s first (and last) full-fledged leap into the world of television is sandwiched somewhere between Take the Money and Run & Bananas, with him taking the form of an eponymous pastiche of Henry Kissinger (minus the accent) to lampoon the then-current Nixon administration.
There was certainly some pedigree involved here, but when under the grips of a President who’d considered cutting government funds to public television, the foremost provider of such a service considered it wise to prevent an airing. Although one might access it at the Paley Center, someone, somewhere, somehow got their hands on a copy of it — and, naturally, this person decided to put it on YouTube. We should be thankful. While the historical worth is undeniable — both for having been so long unseen and marking his first collaboration with Diane Keaton — you’ll want to watch Men of Crisis for the best and simplest of reasons: it’s very funny. And with Allen recently telling The New York Times that his next four pictures (that number including next year’s title) are financed by Sony Pictures Classics, the chance to catch up isn’t getting any easier. Here might be a good spot to start.
Have a peek below:
What did you think of Men of Crisis?