In an unprecedented television program last year, Woody Allen spoke to the camera for the first time about the entire range of his work, in an interview with Richard Schickel, the distinguished film critic and historian. Mr. Allen talked about how he does it, why he does it, its roots in his early life, and his current thinking about the state of his art. The result Woody Allen: A Life in Film, was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed programs in the history of Turner Classic Movies. But the presentation contained only a small fraction of Mr. Schickel's four-hour interview with the famed writer-director-actor. This new book reprints the complete conversation between the two men and includes a long essay of introduction by Mr. Schickel, which places Woody Allen's entire career in critical perspective. Readers will find Mr. Allen's reflections on his major preoccupations—the battle of the sexes; the conflict between reality and fantasy in his major films; mortality, religion, and the role that chance plays in the unfolding of our lives. The book also offers insights into Mr. Allen's working methods as a writer and the growth of his skills as a director, as well as his assessment of himself as an actor and his surprising views of his long life in the public eye. Brief but sharply honed, Woody Allen: A Life in Film is an essential book for anyone seeking to understand the life and times of one of the most important and least understood American filmmakers of our era.
Richard Schickel's most recent book is Good Morning, Mr. Zip Zip Zip, his memoir of growing up in the World War II years. A film critic for Time for many years, Mr. Schickel has written biographies of Clint Eastwood, Marlon Brando, James Cagney, D. W. Griffith, Cary Grant, and Walt Disney, as well as The Men Who Made the Movies, His Picture in the Papers, and Intimate Strangers, a pioneering study of celebrity. He also produces films for television. Mr. Schickel lives in Los Angeles.