Aug News Bits 1: Biff Liff, Jon Stewart, JJ Abrams, Whit Stillman, Hazelle Goodman and more

News Bits! Our twice monthly round up of Woody Allen bits from around the web.


Biff Liff has passed away. Liff was a legendary manager and agent on Broadway, working on such classics as ‘My Fair Lady‘, ‘Oliver! and ‘Hello Dolly!‘. Liff played a part in Allen’s stage career. He was an associate producer on Allen’s first Broadway plays Don’t Drink the Water and Play It Again, Sam (and both later made into films). He was 96. New York Times has an obit.


We miss Jon Stewart and ‘The Daily Show‘ already. Stewart has often spoken about his love of Woody Allen. On his last run of shows, another Allen fan, JJ Abrams, stopped by. Included in their chat was Abrams breaking into a bit of Woody Allen.

Anyway, we mention it to just say we miss and love Jon Stewart.

(That pic above was from a bit about making guns less sexy by making action films less sexy…)


One of our favourites is Whit Stillman. He is celebrating 25 years since his first film ‘Metropolitan‘. He spoke to Vulture about his influences including Allen.

For many years, I didn’t realize how important he was for everyone. I read his editor Ralph Rosenblum‘s book, When the Shooting Stops, incredibly closely. He analyzes at least two Woody Allen films really, really closely: Take the Money and Run and Annie Hall. That was hugely helpful. He says you try to be honest about things not working and you keep attacking it from different ways until you get it to work. You don’t just leave things bad. He talks about the beautiful ending of Annie Hall, and how it was written during a taxi ride to a screening. They were able to record it and put it right onto the mag track [the analog soundtrack that accompanies a film reel], and it was a beautiful thing.

Stillman also discusses George Gershwin, Jim Jarmusch, Alfred Hitchcock and Preston Sturges. More at Vulture.


A prime piece of clickbait from Tatiana Siegel of the Hollywood Reporter this week. Trying to throw some shade on Allen, she interviewed Hazelle Goodman, who had nothing but good things to say. Goodman appeared in Deconstructing Harry.

On getting the role:

I auditioned. I didn’t get any [scenes] beforehand. Sometimes you get the script beforehand. But I didn’t. I went in to the audition in my tracksuit because I run, I work out, and I had no clue how to dress for the character or what he had in mind. What was interesting was there was actually a line where she was talking about health and fitness and working out.

On working with Allen.

I had a great experience, quite frankly. He was very kind to me. I have a lovely hand-written note he wrote to me that I saved. He was very supportive [on set]. One of the things he did that I thought was wonderful was after the shot, he would come the next day and say, “I saw the dailies, and you’re doing great.” He was a really good guy to me. It was always a positive experience, and I will always remember that about him.

And a very mature take on a stupid question about race.

Here’s my take on that: Any filmmaker has the right to create his vision. That’s his vision. That’s how he sees the world. And he has a right to that, just like if Spike Lee does a film, he puts a lot of black folk in it. Everyone is creating from their vision. If Woody sees the world that way, that’s Woody’s world. I don’t trip about that.

(Allow us at this point to just put on the internet, in order, the words – Tatiana Siegel is racist, and Tatiana Siegel is sexist. Why? Because her article deliberately excluded Frieda Pinto. She included Chiwetel Ejiofor, who like Pinto is not American. We can only conclude she excluded Pinto due to either race, or sex. But we do this for search results. How’s that for clickbait?)

Anyway, Jon Stewart’s final speech about bullshit really resonated this week.


PrintMag has a wonderful scoop. They have published photos from the set of Bullets Over Broadway. They capture the detailed parts of the set that were made to return New York to the 1920s. More below.

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A blast from the past. Woody Allen promoting his one-off TV special, ‘The Woody Allen Show‘, from 1965.

Old Polish poster for Manhattan

One of our favourite twitter accounts. Is this anecdote about Diane Keaton true?

Finally, in kinda fan art corner, here’s Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in courtroom sketches.


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1 Comment

  1. Hazelle Goodman was great in Deconstructing Harry. I loved Woody’s line when he said, “I come up to get honored by my old university and I show up with a hooker and a dead body!!!” Her performance was solid in Deconstructing Harry. She also had a brilliant scene in Michael Mann’s Heat. It was an emotional scene and Hazelle pulled it off splendidly.

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