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      Shadows and Fog

      PG-13 Released Feb 12, 1992 1 hr. 26 min. Comedy List
      54% 28 Reviews Tomatometer 55% 5,000+ Ratings Audience Score A serial strangler is on the loose, and a mob of neighborhood vigilantes is on the hunt. When several neighbors wake up the skittish Max Kleinman (Woody Allen), a bookkeeper, they want him to get dressed and join the search party. Finally pulling himself together, Kleinman goes downstairs to find no one waiting for him. Left to investigate alone, he winds up in one predicament after another, which eventually leads him to meet Irmy (Mia Farrow), a sword swallower from the visiting circus. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Premiered May 07 Buy Now

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      Shadows and Fog

      What to Know

      Critics Consensus

      Shadows and Fog recreates the chiaroscuro aesthetic of German Expressionism, but Woody Allen's rambling screenplay retreads the director's neurotic obsessions with derivative results.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Alec B An interesting failure. If 70%-80% of the dialogue had been cut out the visual elements would have taken over the narrative which, given the kind of homage this is, would have been more engaging. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/10/24 Full Review Aldo G I stopped Woody Allen movies movies years ago because I tired of watching him play the same neurotic, self-deprecating lead. That's what he does again in this thinly plotted movie. But, I loved the look of this black and white, German expressionist film and the supporting cast, most given very little, to do is colorful and interesting. If this were in the hands of a writer/director who really cared about developing the story and the characters/cast this would have been a masterwork. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 09/25/23 Full Review Matthew B The two main themes found in Woody Allen's movies are summarised in the title of his 1975 comedy – Love and Death. If I was to tentatively suggest a possible third theme that occurs, albeit less frequently, I would propose murder. It is not just that murders occur in Woody Allen's movies. It is rather that three Allen films are specifically about murder. It is the leading subject matter of those films, and not just a device to move the plot along. In Manhattan Murder Mystery, this takes the form of comedy. In Crimes and Misdemeanours, the morality of murder is seriously considered. Shadows and Fog lies between the two. It is essentially an absurdist comedy that falls somewhere between Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett, but the film's content can also be examined seriously without the risk of seeming too humourless. The film's ability to be both comic and serious (or possibly neither?) may explain why it was box office poison. This was unfortunate because the film had much invested in it. It had an extraordinarily famous cast appearing in supporting roles. It was made using the largest set ever built in New York, making Shadows and Fog the most expensive film that Allen had made to that point. (The frugal studio later recycled the set for other films.) To summarise the plot of Shadows and Fog is not easy. It seems to be designed to frustrate the casual viewer with a series of episodic setpieces that utterly fail to resolve any narrative point whatsoever. As I said, the plot owes much to Kafka. Even the story's hero is a K, just as in Kafka's most famous novels. This is Kleinman (Allen). As his name suggests, he is a little man. He is a timid clerk hoping for a promotion from his tyrannical boss, whom he calls ‘Your majesty', but we know he will never get it. He has a cold and unloving fiancée, and a landlady who mothers him and thinks he should marry her. There is a bitter ex-girlfriend whom he jilted at the altar. Those incidental details establish our hero as an everyman, if you assume that being weak and spineless is the normal human condition. For many people, perhaps it is. As is often the case in comedies about this type of man, he is thrown into an impossible situation in which nobody could reasonably expect to cope. Kleinman has various difficulties to deal with. He is trying to find the vigilantes to learn what his part is in their plan. He is trying to capture the murderer, or at least prevent himself from falling victim. In an atmosphere of suspicion and hostility, he is trying to prevent himself from being falsely accused, but somehow everyone keeps looking in his direction. Some of the jokes are very funny. There is a splendid music score that includes music from Kurt Weill, setting the right serio-comic note for the film. There is also some beautiful black-and-white photography inspired by the movies of Murnau, Lang and Pabst. The movie can also be read as a metaphor for death, with religion failing to find the answer and resulting in more killings, and only the illusions of art offering some longer claim to posterity. When asked about the audience's love of illusions, the magician Armistead gravely intones, "Loves them? They need them – like the air!" I wrote a longer appreciation of Shadows and Fog on my blog page fully explaining my theory in the last paragraph in more detail if you would like to read more: https://themoviescreenscene.wordpress.com/2020/02/28/shadows-and-fog-1991/ Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/18/23 Full Review Audience Member About a bookkeeper wandering in the night streets to join a vigilante mob to capture of a serial strangler, Woody Allen's homage to to German Expressionism, Ingrid Bergman, Franz Kafka and F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu is at best described as shrouded in a stupor of maundering jabberwocky. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review Audience Member An interesting failure. If 70%-80% of the dialogue had been cut out the visual elements would have taken over the narrative which, given the kind of homage this is, would have been more engaging. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review Audience Member Murder mistery, german expressionism, kafkaesque characters, comedy, philosophical questions about existance, love and death. Shadows and Fogs has all this things and even more. A must see for all those who loves great cinema. Chapeau, Woody! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/12/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

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      Jack Kroll Newsweek Shadows and Fog is Woody Allen's first mystery movie. The mystery: what caused this total breakdown of a unique artist? Jan 18, 2013 Full Review Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly Rated: C Sep 7, 2011 Full Review Kathleen Maher Austin Chronicle Rated: 4/5 Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Tom Ryan The Sunday Age Shadows and Fog will certainly surprise anyone who has settled comfortably into the view that films made in Hollywood are likely to be little more than sanitised, homogenised products packaged to please. Rated: 3/4 Aug 30, 2023 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy The circus-related material is thin, and the all-star cast is given little to do. Rated: 2.5/4 Feb 13, 2023 Full Review Grant Watson Fiction Machine The main reason it fails is not because it is not good, but because it simply is not as good as it should be. What is a viewer to do? Rated: 6/10 Jun 26, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis A serial strangler is on the loose, and a mob of neighborhood vigilantes is on the hunt. When several neighbors wake up the skittish Max Kleinman (Woody Allen), a bookkeeper, they want him to get dressed and join the search party. Finally pulling himself together, Kleinman goes downstairs to find no one waiting for him. Left to investigate alone, he winds up in one predicament after another, which eventually leads him to meet Irmy (Mia Farrow), a sword swallower from the visiting circus.
      Director
      Woody Allen
      Executive Producer
      Charles H. Joffe, Jack Rollins
      Screenwriter
      Woody Allen
      Rating
      PG-13
      Genre
      Comedy
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Feb 12, 1992, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Sep 16, 2008
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $2.4M
      Sound Mix
      Surround
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