Love and Death

Stephen Cox

Woody Allen, USA, 1975, 85 minutes

Boris Grushenko (Woody Allen) is a hopeless coward, forced to enlist in the Russian army when Napoleon invades. Inadvertently he becomes a hero, however, as he captures a group of army officers. Eventually Napoleon reaches Moscow, and Boris believes this would put an end to the war. His wife (Diane Keaton) nevertheless has a plan to assassinate Napoleon, and Boris is forced to take part.

If you think this basic plot sounds familiar, then you would be justified. It is the same pathetic no-hoper turned reluctant hero story of several other Woody Allen movies, and in this respect is pretty much the same as the other film in our double bill - Sleeper - only set in the past rather than the future.

It is not as successful as its predecessor, and some of the dialogues between Boris and his wife become overly self-indulgent, and not particularly funny. But there is plenty of slapstick and one-liners, and that particular Woody-style of neurosis, and intellectual humour to keep this film going. Overall, pretty standard Woody Allen stock.

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