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Deconstructing Harry (1997)
"Harry Block wrote a bestseller about his best friends. Now, his best friends are about to become his worst enemies. "
Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Woody Allen Harry Block
Richard Benjamin Ken / Harry's Character
Kirstie Alley Joan
Billy Crystal Larry /
Judy Davis Lucy
Bob Balaban Richard
Elisabeth Shue Fay
Demi Moore Helen / Harry's Character
Robin Williams Mel / Harry's Character
Caroline Aaron Doris
Eric Bogosian Burt
Mariel Hemingway Beth Kramer
Amy Irving Jane
Julie Kavner Grace / Harry's Character
Eric Lloyd Hilly
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Leslie / Harry's Character
Tobey Maguire Harvey Stern / Harry's Character
Stanley Tucci Paul Epstein / Harry's Character
Stephanie Roth Haberle Janet / Harry's Character (as Stephanie Roth)
Dan Frazer Janet's Dad / Harry's Character
Joel Leffert Norman / Harry's Character
Lynn Cohen Janet's Mom / Harry's Character
Joe Buck Yankee Announcer / Harry's Character (voice)
Jane Hoffman Grandma / Harry's Character
Annette Arnold Rosalee / Harry's Character
Frederick Rolf Harvey's Doctor / Harry's Character
Elisabeth Kieselstein-Cord Rosalee's Sister / Harry's Character
Lortensia Hayes Jennifer / Harry's Character
Alicia Meer Woman in Shoestore / Harry's Character
Victoria Hale Woman in Shoestore / Harry's Character
Irving Metzman Shoe Salesman / Harry's Character
Sunny Chae Lily Chang / Harry's Character
Ralph Pope Death
Robert Harper Harry's Doctor
Tony Darrow Camera Operator / Harry's Character
Jonathan LaPaglia First Assistant Cameraperson / Harry's Character
Jeff Mazzola Second Assistant Cameraperson / Harry's Character
Timothy Jerome Director / Harry's Character
Peter Castellotti Crew Member / Harry's Character (as Pete Castellotti)
Judy Bauerlein Actress / Harry's Character
Joseph P. Reidy First Assistant Director / Harry's Character (as Joseph Reidy)
Phyllis Burdoe Script Supervisor / Harry's Character
Barbara Hollander Mel's Daughter / Harry's Character
Adam Rose Mel's Son / Harry's Character
David S. Howard Mel's Doctor / Harry's Character
Amanda Barudin Beth Kramer's Daughter
Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo Baby Hilly / Harry's Character
Floyd Resnick Israeli Patient / Harry's Character
Brian McConnachie Dr. Reese
Peter Jacobson Goldberg / Harry's Character
Tracey Lynne Miller Goldberg's Girlfriend / Harry's Character
Hazelle Goodman Cookie
Jennifer Garner Woman in Elevator / Harry's Character
Irwin Charone Bar Mitzvah Host / Harry's Character
Hy Anzell Max / Harry's Character
Shifra Lerer Dolly / Harry's Character
John Doumanian Bar Mitzvah Guest / Harry's Character
Alexa Aronson Bar Mitzvah Guest / Harry's Character
Kenneth Edelson Bar Mitzvah Guest / Harry's Character
Viola Harris Elsie / Harry's Character
Si Picker Wolf Fishbein / Harry's Character
Howard Spiegel Mr. Farber
Eugene Troobnick Prof. Wiggins
Scotty Bloch Ms. Paley
Ray Aranha Prof. Aranha
Paul Giamatti Prof. Abbott
Marvin Chatinover Prof. Cole
Daniel Wolf Prof. Wolf
Waltrudis Buck Dean of Adair University
Philip Bosco Prof. Clark
Arden Myrin Mary (Student)
Daisy Prince Elevator Voice (voice)
Peter McRobbie Damned Man / Harry's Character
Gene Saks Harry's Father
Dan Moran Devil
Ray Garvey Policeman on Campus
Linda Perri Policewoman on Campus
Tony Sirico Policeman at Jail
Jerry Bruno Electric Bass Player / Harry's Character
Ray Cohen Piano Player / Harry's Character
Michael Manishor Piano Player / Harry's Character
Dave Stettner Trumpet Player / Harry's Character
Sid Jenkowsky Saxophone / Clarinet Player (Harry's Character)
Bobby Shankin Drummer
Max Chalawsky Mendel Birnbaum (scenes deleted)
Dana Eshghi Student on campus
Chris Bauer (uncredited)
Vernon Campbell Guard (uncredited)
Brett Glazer Student (uncredited)
Katie Piel Student #2 (uncredited)
Tim Realbuto Boy at Bar Mitzvah / Harry's Character (uncredited)
Elisabeth Röhm (uncredited)
Todd Stockman Father (uncredited)
Producer: Jean Doumanian
Writer: Woody Allen
One Of Woody's Best
In a string of films that recapitulate familiar themes, this one stands out as perhaps the loudest cry of anguish and self-loathing, and it's a comedy.

Where Woody Allen has paid serious hommages to other artists' bleak "heaviosity" (his word) and inevitably come up short, here he does a blistering comic riff on two of the greatest films of the 20th century, Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" and Fellini's "8½."

The parallels to the Bergman film are obvious and much discussed. The bits of Fellini are less often recognized, including the complaining wife, the impossible mistress, other people's demands creating a totally chaotic existence, closing with a yearning fantasy of getting everybody in his life together in one place and time to create harmony and wholeness. In Woody's version, we even have a double for Mia in the reunion, as if some kind of healing reconciliation were possible.

So Woody hits the wall, looks at his life, can't stand any of it and rips the bark off his own skin. What can seem like self-indulgence in other films is not forgiven here. He writes scathing, vituperative attacks on himself for other character's mouths and the viewer can only gape.

Lots of fun, but not for the whole family.

The only mystery is why, at the time I write this, Imdb singles out such a lame misfire of a slam for the first page of this movie's entry. Just about anybody else who has posted has a better understanding of the film.

User credit 1:1001 movies you must see before you die
User credit 2:915
Storage device:DVD
Imdb rating: 7.1
Running time: 96 min
Subtitles: Svenska
Audio tracks: Dolby Digital 5.1 [English]
Everything else:
Last modified: 2008-01-13 20:18:26