I’ve been thinking about Woody Allen a lot lately – probably because of Mia Farrow’s* recent remarks concerning Satchel/Ronan’s paternity. So when Manhattan Murder Mystery came on TCM, I DVR’d it and only remembered it this morning.
Despite critical acclaim, I was never a fan of this movie but as soon as I started to play it today, I realized something about it for the first time. It’s set on the upper East side of Manhattan instead of the usual West Side haunts Woody favors. The closest he ever got to the East Side before this film was setting up gratuitous shots of the Brooklyn Bridge. In the one of the very earliest scenes of MMM, Woody is walking along East 78th street and the round marquee of The Paper House can be seen across 3rd Avenue in the background.
I gasped. Standing all alone in the living room in my nightgown with the first cup of coffee in my hand. The upper east side was my old stomping grounds and I was a regular customer of The paper House. It’s not there anymore, of course but oh it was magnificent.
They sold things made out of paper from all over the world. The only things I can clearly remember purchasing were a set of 6 Victorian Angel ornaments made of paper and stamped with gold foil accents. I think I still have them in a box of Christmas decorations in the basement**. Unless they were a casualty of Creek In The Basement Syndrome which we were diagnosed with this year. the other thing was a large papier mache Easter Egg from Germany. The design was quite detailed and was not at all the the friendly fuzzy American-style bunny. This had realistic hares dressed in formal clothing at a tea party in the forest. I don’t know what happened to it.
I had to shut it off when the movie got to an exterior shot of the Metropolitan Opera Company bathed in golden light. It was too much. Probably the most beautiful vision of that famous building there ever was.
- I wrote this whole post listening to Bobby Short. The title song for this film is his Cafe Carlyle performance of “I Happen to Like New York”.
- I forgot what i was going to put here. If i remember later, I’ll come back and do an edit.
*Mia Farrow is a whole different story. Is there anyone that believes she is completely sane? I think we all should have known that back when when she was a teenager with a starring role on one of the most popular TV shows of the day. Her role was that of a sweetly naive small town teenager and so when she chopped her long hair down to a raggedy pixie with a pair of fingernail scissors it was (a) against her own best interests (b) kind of idiotic and (c) national news.
**I hope I live long enough to see them again. I’ve got enough Christmas stuff down there to decorate three churches and it’s a lot to go through.