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Sleeper

September 16, 2010

569. Sleeper
Directed by Woody Allen
USA, 1973

IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Ally
Approx. fourth viewing

Description:

Doctor Aragon: You must understand that everyone you knew in the past has been dead nearly two hundred years.

Miles Monroe: But they all ate organic rice!

Miles Monroe (Woody Allen), having been cryonically frozen against his wishes in 1973, is awakened in the 22nd Century. Finding himself classed as an illegal alien in a totalitarian state, he disguises himself as a robot butler to evade capture. His new owner Luna (Diane Keaton) discovers his true identity and tries to turn him in to the authorities, landing them both in trouble.

Essential Scene:

An historian takes the opportunity to speak to Miles, asking him to clarify certain mysterious 20th Century artefacts. The historian first shows Miles a selection of photographs. Miles correctly identifies Joseph Stalin as a Communist but quickly begins to make absurd claims; Bela Lugosi was the Mayor of New York City, Charles de Gaulle was a celebrity chef, et cetera. Other photographs include feminists burning their bras — “You’ll notice it’s a very small fire” — and a Playboy centrefold which Miles is quite keen to keep.

The historian then shows Miles some video clips. First is a speech by Richard Nixon. The historian shares his theory that “he might once have been a President of the United States, but that he did something horrendous so that all records, everything was wiped out about him.” Finally the historian shows an excerpt from ABC’s Wide World of Sports, presented by the monotonous Howard Cosell.

Historian: At first we didn’t know exactly what this was, but we’ve developed a theory. We feel that when citizens in your society were guilty of a crime against the state, they were forced to watch this.

Miles: Yes. That’s exactly what that was.

Take that, sports fans!

Thoughts:

Sleeper features a mix of sci-fi, satire and slapstick — a futuristic Duck Soup if you will. That’s not to say it’s as good as Duck Soup. Nothing’s as good as Duck Soup. Well, some things are as good as Duck Soup. But not this. Not that it’s not good. It is good. But is it Duck Soup good? No. I digress…

This is one of the last films of Woody Allen’s “early, funny period,” and funny it certainly is. However, he has since made films that were more touching and, as a result, funnier too. I count some of them among my favourites. Sleeper is fine, but it doesn’t make the list.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 16, 2010 3:59 pm

    I haven’t thought about that movie in years! what a great write up!

    Sleeper was my first Woody Allen movie, and has remained my favorite over the years. My Mom showed it to my sister and I when we were about 10 years old. Of course, we only got the physical comedy jokes, and seeing it again later and getting all the sex jokes made it all the better.

    I think what solidified this as my favorite Allen flick is the memory of my mother sitting on the sofa, laughing her head off nonstop through the whole thing.

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