Writer, director, actor, humorist. Woody Allen stands as one of our era’s most celebrated artists. Starting in the 1950s, Allen began crafting a larger-than-life neurotic persona that has since entertained and enlightened millions. In his films, widely thought to be autobiographical explorations of his own comic fears and fixations, Allen carefully controlled the public’s view of him as a lovable scamp. But that all came crashing down the day Mia Farrow found a Polaroid on her mantle. What followed was a flurry of sensational headlines and legal battles. His relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, thirty-four years his junior and the step-daughter of his longtime girlfriend, caused shockwaves in the public’s perception of the director, yet few biographers and journalists have explored what happened and why.
In this, the first deep investigation of Allen’s life and the events surrounding his split with Farrow, biographer Marion Meade tracks down dozens of friends, actors, neighbors, and film historians. They open up with insights and details rare in the world of wealth and celebrity. What results is a fascinating portrait of a flawed genius, as adept at constructing his own image as he is at crafting films. Rereleased and updated, this is an unauthorized biography that neither Woody Allen’s fans nor his detractors will be able to put down. The revised and updated edition was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal in 2013 by Carl Rollyson, in a roundup of the five best Hollywood biographies.read more
MARION MEADE is the author of Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? and Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties. She has also written biographies of Nathanael West, Woody Allen, Buster Keaton, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Victoria Woodhull, and Madame Blavatsky, as well as two novels about medieval France. For Penguin Classics, Meade has edited The Portable Dorothy Parker and has introduced Parker’s Complete Poems, The Ladies of the Corridor, and Alpine Giggle Week.read more
Reviews for The Unruly Life of Woody Allen
I have always felt that Woody Allen's films have more of an aura of 'should' be liked than any warm, humourous feel. I, therefore, did not approach this book with great sentiment for its subject and certainly have no more upon its completion.The book spends considerable time looking at the scandal of Mr. Allen's affair with his step daughter. This is a thoroughly repellent issue and, if Ms. Meade is to be believed, Allen is unable to accept that it and, indeed, his relationship with his children, is in any way wrong.The only thing in Mr. Allen's favour, is that the book does read as if the author came to her subject with a verdict pre-ordained. This leads to an unsatisfactory book but not to the extent where one could feel sympathy with the diabolic subject.The whole experience leaves a bad taste and has me wondering why I bothered to stick with this to the end.read more
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