Fresh on Twilight Time: Woody Allen comedy heads July’s releases

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Preston Barta // Editor

What if Woody Allen adopted Mel Brooks’ comedy structure and mixed in some concepts from Disney-Pixar’s INSIDE OUT and MONTY PYTHON?

As strange as it sounds, this is pretty close to capturing what all happens in Allen’s breathlessly titled EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX* (*BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK).

All titles are available for a limited time, exclusively from TwilightTimeMovies.com in limited runs of 3,000 copies.

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX (1972)
Rated R, 88 minutes.
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Woody AllenGene Wilder and Louise Lasser

The 1972 film breaks its stories of sexual activity into seven hilarious segments. They range from “Do Aphrodisiacs Work?” (Allen plays a medieval court jester that gives an aphrodisiac to his Queen, only to find himself without a head by the end of it) to “What is Sodomy?” (Gene Wilder stars as a medical doctor who falls in love with a sheep) to its final, and arguably best, leg called “What Happens During Ejaculation?” (a Tony Randall and Burt Reynolds-starring bit about a team of operatives who run a NASA-like control center in one man’s brain).

Some vignettes are naturally better than others (one about a giant breast attacking the countryside is admittedly silly). However, each are wrapped in rapid-fire laughs and coated with irony about the overly exaggerated importance of sex in our culture.

It’s Allen at his zaniest and wildest. It’s very clear early on that he’s not afraid to boldly go where no one has gone before, all while making you laugh hysterically in the process.

Grade: A

Extras: Isolated music track and original theatrical trailer.

 

Also available on Twilight Time

 

TOM SAWYER/HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1973/74)
Rated G, 104 minutes / Rated G, 118 minutes.
Director: Don Taylor  / J. Lee Thompson
Cast: Johnny WhitakerJeff East and Jodie Foster / Jeff EastPaul Winfield and Harvey Korman

Sibling songwriting duo Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (MARY POPPINS) tackle Mark Twain for a pair of uneven but entertaining musical adaptations. Both films move with the sweet innocence of an old Disney film, but some voices and tunes strike the wrong chord.

Grade: B-/C

Extras: Isolated music tracks, two different TOM SAWYER audio commentaries, TOM SAWYER river song featurette, TOM SAWYER rehearsal with composer John Williams and the Sherman brothers, and original theatrical trailers.

STATE FAIR (1962)
Not rated, 119 minutes.
Director: José Ferrer
Cast: Pat BoonePamela Tiffin and Ann-Margret

Pat Boone and Pamela Tiffin are brother and sister in this picturesque remake of the 1945 movie musical STATE FAIR. While their parents (Alice Faye and Tom Ewell) are determined to win competitions with their livestock and cooking, the siblings find romance and fun in Emily Porter (a standout Ann-Margret) and Jerry Dundee (Bobby Darin) at the state fair in Dallas. Outside of its stunning camera work and vibrant colors, there’s not much to hang your hat on in this rendition.

Grade: C-

Extras: Isolate music track, audio commentary with Pat Boone, From Page to Screen to Stage, STATE FAIR TV series pilot, and original theatrical trailers.

THE CRIMSON KIMONO (1959)
Not rated, 81 minutes.
Director: Samuel Fuller
Cast: Victoria ShawGlenn Corbett and James Shigeta

During a time when most Asian-Americans were marginalized or played by Mickey Rooney (Rooney might be dead, but he’s never living that down), this black-and-white tale is a total surprise in its representation and fine storytelling. THE CRIMSON KIMONO tells of two Los Angeles detectives (James Shigeta and Glenn Corbett) who are leading an investigation involving a murdered stripper from Little Tokyo. But along the way, they find themselves caught in a troubling love triangle with a possible key witness (Victoria Shaw). Tapping into themes of racism and sexual identity, this is a refreshing experience, even by today’s standards.

Grade: B

Extras: Isolated music track, Sam Fuller Storyteller, Curtis Hanson: The Culture of THE CRIMSON KIMONO, and original theatrical trailers.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.