Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A Movie You Might Have Missed #87: Manhattan Murder Mystery

The man in the apartment down the hallway is so awfully nice. He has one of those deep, expansive voices, and a face that breaks naturally into a smile, and the kind of big, disorganized body that's somehow reassuring. Therefore, obviously, he must be hiding something. And when his wife dies of a heart attack, it cannot be as simple as that. There must be more to it. Something deep, dark and ominous.

This is the way Carol's mind works. She can't help it; she was probably raised on Nancy Drew. She drives her husband nuts. He wants her to shut up and go to sleep, but all night and all day her mind is at work, threading together facts and possibilities into an obsessive theory: This nice guy has killed his wife, and unless she does something about it, he'll get away with murder.

What follows is a screwball murder mystery investigation, Woody Allen style. It stars Allen and Diane Keaton which tells you a lot about their dynamic if you ever saw Annie Hall. They work very well as a married couple.

I haven't seen this for about 10 or 15 years. It really holds up both as a tightly-plotted mystery and an examination of comfortable, middle aged marriage. I've always liked it but this time I was laughing out loud. In fact, I laughed out loud so many times that it got kind of embarrassing.

My mother hadn't ever seen a Woody Allen film. She liked this one a lot, which led to a minor Woody Allen festival of our favorites — most of which, it turns out, are movies practically everyone missed. I have featured many of them in the Movies You Might Have Missed series already right here.

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