Director: Woody Allen

88 minutes| U.S.A.| 1987| Colour| 35mm

Radio Days is unalloyed pleasure, described by Allen as ‘a nostalgic comedy without a plot, part documentary, part account of certain years of my childhood’. An opening gag involving two burglars and a radio quiz show called Name that Tune launches things splendidly; and thereafter Allen’s narrator interweaves a romanticised recreation of the great days of radio between 1938 and 1944 with an affectionate portrayal of family life. Particularly endearing are Julie Kavner’s imperious mother (‘I like to daydream, but I have my two feet planted firmly on my husband’); Dianne Wiest’s melancholy aunt, whose disastrous choice of men includes an admirer who abandons her in his car on hearing Orson Welles’ notorious Martian broadcast; and Mia Farrow’s wistful match-girl who thinks Pearl Harbor is a person. An exuberant collage of character and comic-strip narrative and popular song is dispatched with the assured nonchalance of a dance routine by Astaire.

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