Bottom Line: Woody has gone “bananas”!

Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Carlos Montalban, Louise Lasser, Woody Allen

Odd comedy of a product tester, Fielding (Woody Allen). A lonely New Yorker, he meets the woman of his dreams, Nancy (Louise Lasser), who is going door-to-door with a petition. To impress her, he pretends to be interested in the cause, which supports a fictional Latin American banana republic. Their relationship lasts a night before Fielding is dumped–the point at which he feels destined to travel to Latin America.

Though BANANAS is funny, it couldn’t be made today. From the very opening scene in which a Central American television reporter informs us that we are about to see their president publicly assassinated, it is clear that it would be considered mocking toward Latin American nations. BANANAS isn’t your typical Woody Allen comedy, either. This being a very early film for Allen as director, we can use this film to see reason as to why Allen uses little music and simplistic black-and-white title sequences in most of his movies. The odd placements of pieces such as Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” make it seem more like a Mel Brooks film; and the colorful, cartoon-y title sequence looks like it came from an kids’ movie.

In one way or another, BANANAS was an enjoyable film, but unlike other Allen films (i.e. SLEEPER, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS), it’s not very likely to endure more than one or two viewings. Still, for his fans, it’s great to go back to the beginning of his endless career. Look for Sylvester Stallone in his small debut role as a thug.