Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Crimes and Misdemeanors


Martin Landau is Judah, a successful ophthalmologist who is having an affair with Anjelica Huston. He thinks he told her he would not leave his wife; she claims he had better leave her or she will expose the whole nasty thing, and also some financial improprieties he was stupid enough to tell her about. It’s a Fatal Attraction scenario as she gets crazier and more insistent. Judah has a brother (Jerry Orbach) with mob connections. When Judah tells Jerry about his predicament, Jerry cuts to the chase, and says he can have her rubbed out. Judah gradually accustoms himself to the idea, but almost blows it after the deed is done and he is consumed by guilt.

Meanwhile, Woody Allen is a smalltime film-maker who is inveigled into making a documentary about Alan Alda, a blowhard, egotistical, but very successful television producer whom he detests. He is also in love with Mia Farrow, who works for Alda. Mia goes with Alda to London, and comes back engaged to the asshole.

Judah gets over his guilt. Woody is despondent. They meet at a party at the end, and we see that crime can be rewarded, while honesty and love can fail. It’s a simple lesson, of course, but the writing and the acting are superb all around. There were Oscar nominations for Landau, and two for Woody. Not a fun movie, but a hell of a good one.