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What About Friday Night?

It is one of the most exhilarating moment of Woody Allen’s depressive character, perpetually tormented by questions concerning meaning and purpose, that here has the name of Allan Felix. Allan would like to be Humphrey Bogart, to be able to drink and seduce like him. But he’s nothing but a neurotic film reviewer recently dumped by his bored-to-death wife. With the help of his friends Dick and Linda — plus that of Bogart himself, who appears from time to time to give him advice —, Allan starts dating women again, though not with much success, as in the case of the museum girl played by Diana Davila.

Allan: That’s quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn’t it?
Museum Girl: Yes, it is.
Allan: What does it say to you?
Museum Girl: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.
Allan: What are you doing Saturday night?
Museum Girl: Committing suicide.
Allan: What about Friday night?

Woody Allen and Diana Davila in Play It Again, Sam by Herbert Ross and Woody Allen (1972)

All in the span of two minutes, Allen gives us a blistering commentary on relationships, life, and love. Of course, it’s not that Allan Felix really cares about the girl’s intense interpretation of the harrows of being alive in a bleak, unforgiving life. Their conversation is not so light and short, as social rules typically dictate, and her dreary thoughts are the antithesis to her lovely appearance.

In his abject loneliness, Allan only thinks of her as a passing partner in the sad ride of life she is talking about. What she says doesn’t matter, it’s all about filling the space next to him, even for a little while. He just waits patiently for her to stop so he can ask her out, her reply just an obstacle that requires another option. From 1972, when Play It Again, Sam was released, Woody seems to have given us a view of a typical approach of our “restricted” virtual age, by making comedic something that is now a little more normal.

Play It Again, Sam French Poster
Viva and Woody Allen in Play It Again, Sam (1972) – Photo: Paramount/Getty Images
Play It Again, Sam Poster
Play It Again, Sam Poster

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