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Alice - 1990

Director: Woody Allen
Production Company: Orion Pictures Corporation
Genre: Comedy
Run Time: 102 minutes

Film Synopsis

Not widely seen, Alice features Woody Allen's frequent theme of magical realism, something he returned to sixteen years later in Scoop. Alice Tate is a mother of two and sixteen-years married. Raised a devout Catholic, she gets involved with a handsome saxophone player named Joe. Alice sees a Chinese doctor about her back problems, who informs her that her problems stem from her life, and proceeds to prescribe a series of various rare herbs that test her inhibitions.

Main Cast Noteables

Joe Mantegna
Mia Farrow
Alice Tate
William Hurt
Doug Tate
Blythe Danner
Alec Baldwin
Bernadette Peters
Cybill Sheperd
Nancy Brill
June Squibb
Marceline Hugo
Dylan O'Sullivan Farrow
Patrick O'Neal
Alice's Father
Gwen Verdon
Alice's Mother
Julie Kavner
Holland Taylor
Full Cast & Credits

Movie Remarks

by February 10, 2012
Meet The Real Mia Farrow

Playing the protagonist in Manhattan, Woody Allen quips that people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics. So, who gets the final say so? Such is the question of Allen's 1989 film Alice, which develops Allen's ideas of fidelity further. This time, the main character, played by Mia Farrow, finds herself in middle age examining her life, her marriage and specifically her devotion to fidelity.

Although she doesn't interact with the aforementioned happily married pigeons, she does have a recurring dream of meeting her lover around penguins. (Another species who mates for life) She's smitten for Joe Mantega, and sees herself locked in a passionate embrace with him. Dreaming is easy for her considering she's locked into a passionless marriage with a wealthy Wall Street businessman, played by William Hurt, who turns out playing a rake extremely well.

Alice may also be one of the most honest portrayals of Farrow, who has, like her character in the movie, resolved personal drama by focusing on raising her children and working for humanitarian issues. Perhaps Allen believes Farrow spends her time acting like she's Mother Theresa.

As a movie, everything works. It's not as heavy-handed as Crimes & Misdemeanors. Nor is it as relentlessly dramatic as Another Women, a film made two years earlier that actually features many of the same themes. (In Another Woman the main character, Gena Rowlands, reassesses her life's turns in flashback, imagining old and fictitious conversations with members of the family.)

Watching Alice it's impossible not to notice a number of cinematic references such as Alice's romance with a saxophone player; essentially the Chinese herbs turned her into "Marilyn Monroe" in Some Like It Hot. Her society friends, notably Helen (Holland Taylor), is a backstabbing Rosalind Russell right out of The Women, right down to the jungle red fingernail polish.

And of course, the color red has a broader significance throughout the film, representing Alice's personal emancipation. It's when she's wearing the red hat (as seen on the movie poster) that's she's bold and confident, almost like she's another woman.

Film Trivia & Awards: Alice

Finding trivia about Alice was a challenge. It is as scarce as hen's teeth, but, here goes....


Budget: $12m (USA)

$7.331m (USA), SEK 1,537,734 (Sweeden)
Release Date: December 25, 1990 (USA), February 6, 1991 (France), March 21, 1991 (Sweden), April 5, 1991 (Finland)

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