Fans of Woody Allen normally fall into two groups, those who like his “earlier funny films” or those that prefer his later more serious work. Both views are valid and Bananas was one of the first to show his real comic genius.
Woody plays Fielding Mellish, a paranoid Jewish man, full of neurosis and obsessed with women and sex. When he is jilted by his politically aware girlfriend Nancy (Louise Lasser), he decides that an awareness-raising holiday is in order. So he heads to the tiny Central American republic of San Marcos, only to become kidnapped by anti-government rebels, triggering a series of unlikely events that sees Mellish himself become both President and the FBI’s number one target.
While the film has dated somewhat, the carefree style of the movie still allows for some fabulous and silly gags as well as great dialogue. This is the Woody Allen we all grew to love, not afraid to poke fun at anyone or anything and his onscreen girl played by Louise Lasser works with him nicely, although not to the extent that Diane Keaton would do in later films. Some of the jokes fall flat but overall this is an enjoyable low-budget comedy that has much to enjoy within its short running time. (Look out for Sylvester Stallone as a thug on the subway in a bit part before he became famous)
The Blu ray has been released by Arrow Academy in the UK as a standalone release or as part of a Six film box-set. The picture quality is from the existing MGM master and while it is no great shakes it is certainly good even if the contrast is a bit flat on occasion. Audio is again fine, with the original LPCM 2.0 mono track clear, if a little lifeless on occasion.
Extras are just a trailer, disappointing but as Woody Allen does not seem to like extra’s it will have to do.
FILM: 6 PICTURE: 7.5 AUDIO: 6 EXTRAS: 1