Cinema: An Evening Without Woody

Woody Allen may well be the funniest man in America. But he is not the funniest writer in America, and between the two titles lies a profound gap. At the bottom of the gap is Don't Drink the Water, the film version of Woody's first stage play.

When he appears in his own Broadway comedy (Play It Again, Sam) or his own film (Take the Money and Run), Allen fleshes out the jittery image of Everymanic-depressive. Inanimate objects become his sworn enemies, paranoia reigns and everyone becomes a Woody worshiper. But Don't Drink the Water is minus the man—as adapter and actor—and...

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