The Film


-Four years later Play it Again, Sam was released as a film. [3]


-The rights were sold to Paramount Pictures, which initially intended to cast it was stars.  [3]


-A number of actors turn down the roll. But by that time Woody was famous enough based on the success of his first few films; he landed the role in the fall of 1971. [3]


-Woody had no interest in directing because by that time Woody had put Sam behind him and was focusing on new projects. [3]


-In an interview with 'Cinema' magazine in March 1972, Woody Allen said: "I would never want to direct a play into a movie. I would only be interested in working on original projects for the screen. I was already at work on [Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask], and I didn't want to spend a year doing a project that I had done on Broadway". Woody Allen hoped that the film, directed by director Herbert Ross, would garner "a nice, solid, funny commercial picture, and hopefully entice a broader audience for me than I get with my own films". [1]


-Paramount Pictures picked the experienced Herbert Ross to direct. He made Footloose, Steel Magnolias, Funny Lady. [3]


-With the assistance of director Herbert Ross, Woody Allen adapted his "Play It Again, Sam" play for this film version in only about ten days. [1]


-He made a few notable changes, chiefly shifting the location from New York to San Francisco. [3]


-Originally to be shot in Manhattan and Long Island but moved to San Francisco when New York film workers went on strike in the summer of 1971. [1]


-First of six screen teamings and eight collaborations of Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. This is the only Woody Allen - Diane Keaton star teamed movie or film collaboration in which Allen did not also direct. [1]


-Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts and Jerry Lacy reprised their roles in the movie. [1]


-In September 1972, Paramount was widely distributing this on a double bill with another comedy, Last of the Red Hot Lovers. [1]


-Reportedly, Woody Allen received 10% (points) of the film's box-office gross netting him more than US $1 million. [1]


-For the first time in his career, Allen is playing a character reminiscent of the real-life Woody Allen. He’s always played a Woody Allen of one sort or another, but he’s no longer the bumbling, unemployable idiot he’s been until now. He’s still clumsy, true, but Allan Felix is also well-educated, eloquent and interested in fine art and music. As a film critic with a nice apartment, he’s a long ways from the “product tester” of Bananas, the dressing assistant of What’s New Pussycat or the low-rent criminal of Take the Money and Run. [2]


-The film focuses on a few interesting characters in a small number of locations. It doesn’t have the rapid fire, joke per minute style as all of his early movies.  It feels much more personal and honest. The jokes also aren’t physical in focus and much more intelligent in nature. [3]



The Play


-The original Broadway production of "Play It Again, Sam" written by Woody Allen, opened at the Broadhurst Theater on 12th February 1969 and ran for 453 performances until 14th march 1970. [1]


-Since Woody's character was obviously a fictionalized version of himself. Woody decided to play the part in spite of his lack of training. [3]


-The role of Leon's friend was given to Tony Roberts, who becomes a Woody regular. [3]


-The wife’s role went to “the big gawky girl with the gum” aka Diane Keaton. [3]


-Diane Keaton was born in Southern California 1946. He original name was Diane Hall. [3]


-Woody later explained that Diane Keaton has made him feel insecure. He felt that she was the Broadway star. He was only a stage comedian, who have never acted in live theatre before.  [3]


-She was hardly a Broadway star. Her experience was limited to Hair. [3]


-Diane Keaton and Woody Allen had been in a personal relationship around the time they both performed in this film's source "Play it again, Sam" stage play on Broadway. [1]


-Being a stage actor turned out to be surprisingly pleasurable for Woody. He had his days free to write or relax and in the evenings spent them with Diane walking down to the theater district down Broadway. [3]


-It was the easiest job in the world he said years later. [3]


-Woody came across as immensely attractive performer even know he continued to betray the Neebish. Woody gave audiences a glimpse into the more earthy, realistic side of himself in Play It Again Sam. [3]


-The Broadway stage production of "Play It Again, Sam" was produced in association with Woody Allen's regular movie producers, Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe, the latter of whom acted as an executive producer on this film. [1]


-Critics were lukewarm the theatergoers phone worked to be funny and entertaining as a result plate again. [3]


-Critics took note of the special chemistry between Woody Allen and Diane. [3]


-During rehearsals for Play it Again, Sam, Woody Allen and Diane click immediately.  [3]


-It was obvious that she had a crush on him.  She said she had seen on television before and I thought he was real cute.  [3]


-Woody later recalled he thought she was very charming to be around and of course you always get the impulse with Diane to protect her. [3]


-He once described her as a “real hayseed, the kind that would chew 8 sticks of gum at a time.” [3]


-He was still married but after Christmas when the company moved to Washington DC for the three month Broadway tryout, Allen and Diane became lovers. [3]

-Runtime: 85 minutes

-Released on May 4, 1972

-Production Company: Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

-Distributor: United Artists

-Rated PG

-Budget: NA

-Gross: NA

-Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1


"Play It Again, Sam" Screening Companion

There was a certain pattern forming, from What’s New Pussycat to Bananas to the ever-looming Annie Hall. With each venture, Woody Allen was making small but measured steps from slapstick, goofy movie star to acclaimed, melodramatic heavyweight. Play It Again, Sam jumps the gun a little bit. It plays as sort of an Annie Hall dry run, right in the middle of a slapstick frenzy. It’s not in the same league as any of his classic films, but it’s surprising to see such a measured, emotional film that takes itself so seriously sandwiched between Bananas and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask. [2]



-First released just over a year after the similarly titled Play It Again, Charlie Brown. [1]


-The film's tagline "Here's laughing at you kid" was a spoof of the famous Humphrey Bogart line "Here's looking at you kid" from Casablanca. [1]


-No one actually says “Play it again, Sam” in Casablanca, although that sentiment is expressed many times. [2]


-Allen revealed years later that he doesn’t even like Casablanca (“I couldn’t sit through it”), but felt it was appropriate that his character would look up to Bogart as portrayed therein. [2]

-The set dressing and direction of a movie buff's apartment required locating many rare film posters and movie memorabilia. The value of the items ranged from as little as ten dollars to as expensive as $500. Some of the rarer pieces could only be rented by the production. [1]


-One of seven film collaborations of actor Tony Roberts and Woody Allen, six of them being cinema movie features. [1]


-Near the beginning of the film, when the Woody Allen character is lying in his bed amongst several books, one of them (with the yellow cover) is the actual Woody Allen book "Without Feathers." [1]


-Director cameo Herbert Ross is seen behind Allan and Linda as the cable car heads up the hill. [1]


Critical Reception


-The film was lavishly praised, as funny, smoothly made situation comedy. [3]


-Play it Again, Sam would become Woody’s most successful film up to that point. [3]


-The picture is now seen as one of his classics. [3]


-Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun Times wrote, “The notion of using a Bogart character is surprisingly successful. The Bogie imitation by Jerry Lacy is good, if not great, and the movie begins and ends with variations on that great "Casablanca" ending. That, and the movie's rather conventional Broadway plot structure, give it more coherence than the previous Woody Allen films, "Take the Money and Run" and "Bananas." Maybe the movie has too much coherence, and the plot is too predictable; that's a weakness of films based on well-made Broadway plays. Still, that's hardly a serious complaint about something as funny as Play It Again, Sam."”


Ebert continues, “Still, as comedies go, this is a very funny one. Woody Allen is one of those rare comedians who understands that humor can be based on pathos as well as sadism. While the high-pressure comics overwhelm us with aggressive humor, Woody is off in the bathroom somewhere being attacked by a hairdryer.” wrote, “Movies with such wholly conclusive endings can seem forced, but when it’s done well, as it is here, it’s thrilling to watch everything come together. Part of what makes Casablanca’s ending so great is its classic misdirection, making dramatic use of its knowledge that audiences inherently expect the movie stars and romantic leads to end up together. It’s a rare plot twist that’s not a gimmick — the new, unexpected ending is more satisfying and touching than the ending you thought was coming. It’s also happier, in a more meaningful way and for all characters, than any other ending you might have anticipated.” [2]


-Derek Adams for Time Out wrote, “The working out of the parallels with Casablanca are masterly, and there are plenty of good sight gags and one-liners.


-To the casual fan, Play It Again, Same is basically Annie Hall-lite. Consistently funny, smarter than most romantic comedies, and with a touching ending. For me, it was a refreshing change of pace. [2]


-97% Rotten Tomatoes rating


1 –

2 - Every Woody Allen Movie website

3– “The Unruly Life of Woody Allen” by Marion Meade