Woody Allen seemed to have a bit of a wacky film period in the early 70s. I always think of Bananas (1971), Sleeper (1973) and Love and Death (1975) together, as similar sort of films. I should probably include Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), but I’ve seen that film so rarely that I don’t feel as familiar with it.
Love and Death is told in flashback. Boris, played by Woody Allen, is awaiting execution and begins longing for his youth and relating the story of how he ended up facing his ultimate fate.
Boris is a peasant in an 19th century Russia at war with the French. He is in love with his cousin Sonia who is in love with Boris’ brother Ivan.
Boris is sent off to war, and, despite being a coward, returns a hero. Then, after sleeping with a beautiful countess and winning a duel against all odds, Sonia agrees to fulfill her pre-duel promise and marry Boris.
They live a modest life, and eventually, Sonia grows to love Boris. But Boris grows depressed, and wants to commit suicide. Then war breaks out again and Sonia and Boris decide that to end the cycle, they are going to assassinate Napoleon.
The assassination attempt proves unsuccessful when Boris can’t bring himself to brutally kill another man, even if he rightfully deserves it. Boris is captured and sentenced to death while Sonia escapes.
There are some fairly amusing scenes that make this worth a watch.
There is a great montage scene where Boris is going through military training and one again when they are in battle. Followed by a hilarious scene where the army puts on a play to demonstrate the dangers of contracting a “social disease” by sleeping with prostitutes while on leave. And the cringe worthy scene at the opera as Boris flirts with the Countess from across the balcony.
Check out Woody Allen’s Love and Death on Amazon.com
Shopping from Canada, like me? Check out the Woody Allen Collection on Amazon.ca