Duh, Woody Allen has been ‘obsessed with teenage girls’ throughout his career
The Washington Post published an interesting piece in their “Outlook” section this week. The piece is by writer Richard Morgan, and it’s called “I read decades of Woody Allen’s private notes. He’s obsessed with teenage girls.” Morgan was – he says – the first person to request and read all of Woody Allen’s notes, archives and papers, which are currently housed at Princeton University. Woody began housing his written archives at Princeton in 1980, and they include script notes, short stories, half-written outlines and character sketches and more. The through-line for “The Woody Papers” is pretty simple, Morgan says: he’s obsessed with teenage girls. Which is something we’ve known for a long time, but good God. You can read the full WaPo piece here.
[From The Washington Post]
Woody Allen is making a new movie. Just kidding: He doesn’t make new movies. What he’s editing now, “A Rainy Day in New York,” about a college-age love triangle, could, like any of his movies, instead be titled “A Woman Gets Objectified by a Man.” This, in his view, is the pinnacle of art, its truest calling and highest purpose. Especially when it involves young women who are compelled to lackluster men merely by the gravity of the men’s obsession.
I know this because I’ve seen his whole career up close — going through all of his drafts and scribblings, his psychological and physical cutting-room floor that exists in the 56-box, 57-year personal archives he has been curating since 1980 at Princeton University (which he did not attend). According to the staff at Firestone Library’s rare-books wing, I’m the first person to read Allen’s collection — the Woody Papers — from cover to cover, and from the very beginning to the very end, Allen, quite simply, drips with repetitious misogyny. Allen, who has been nominated for 24 Oscars, never needed ideas besides the lecherous man and his beautiful conquest — a concept around which he has made films about Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Manhattan, journalism, time travel, communist revolution, murder, writing novels, Thanksgiving dinner, Hollywood and many other things — because that one idea bore so much fruit for his career.
Allen’s archive is a garden of earthly deletes — decades of notes and stories and sketches that the prolific filmmaker exiled, for whatever reason, to the shadowlands in between whole-hearted commitment and half-hearted possession. His screenplays are often Freudian, and they generally feature him (or some avatar for him) sticking almost religiously to a formula: A relationship on the brink of failure is thrown into chaos by the introduction of a compelling outsider, almost always a young woman. Sometimes, this produces a gem, such as “Match Point.” Often it does not. Ellen Page, featured in 2012’s “To Rome With Love,” called working with Allen “the biggest regret of my career.”
Allen’s work is flatly boorish. Running through all of the boxes is an insistent, vivid obsession with young women and girls: There’s the “wealthy, educated, respected” male character in one short story (“By Destiny Denied: Incident at Entwhistle’s”) who lives with a 21-year-old “Indian” woman. First, Allen’s revisions reduce her to 18, then double down, literally, and turn her into two 18-year-olds. There’s the 16-year-old in an unmade television pitch described as “a flashy sexy blonde in a flaming red low cut evening gown with a long slit up the side.” There’s the 17-year-old girl in another short story, “Consider Kaplan,” whose 53-year-old neighbor falls in love with her as the two share a silent, one-floor-long elevator ride in their Park Avenue co-op. There’s the female college student in “Rainy Day” who “should not be 20 or 21, sounds more like 18 — or even 17 — but 18 seems better.” That script includes a male college student but gives no description of his age. Another of Allen’s male characters, in a draft of a 1977 New Yorker story called “The Kugelmass Episode,” is a 45-year-old fascinated by “coeds” at City College of New York. In the margin next to this character’s dialogue, Allen wrote, then crossed out, “c’est moi” — it’s me.
It does feel like The Emperor’s New Clothes, right? It’s something we’ve known about Woody Allen for many, many years. He tends to make the same movie, over and over. He wants to work with the youngest actresses. He’s obsessed with very young women and girls. There’s the criminal/legal aspect of this, where Woody can’t help revealing his modus operandi as a predator through his art. Then there’s the art-criticism take too, which is that Woody Allen’s art is two-dimensional and he exhausted his schtick many years ago.
Photos courtesy of WENN.