October 23, 2013

Woody Allen Manuscripts On View at Firestone Library

BookRev“That’s how I feel about life. A lot of suffering, pain, anxiety, and problems — and it’s over so quickly.”

Fans of filmmaker Woody Allen will remember this monologue by Alvy Singer, the character Mr. Allen played in the 1977 film Annie Hall. The monologue appears in a bound mimeograph of the script, a page of which is currently on display at Princeton University’s Firestone Library through next Friday, November 1.

The yellowing script is one of seven from classic Allen films that are part of the Woody Allen papers, which the Oscar-winning director, author, and actor has been donating to the library since 1980. They are on view in conjunction with an appearance Mr. Allen will make at Richardson Auditorium on Sunday, October 27 at the invitation of the Friends of Princeton University Library. Mr. Allen will answer questions from the audience at the event, which was nearly sold out as of Monday. Princeton professor Maria DiBattista, who teaches English and Comparative Literature, will host the session.

“We were surprised when he said yes,” said Ben Primer, Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections. The Friends originally invited Mr. Allen to speak at a dinner. But he declined, saying he didn’t want to lecture but would be happy to answer questions from students. The fact that the University will be on fall break did not deter him, Mr. Primer said, adding that not all students leave the campus during the fall break.

Scripts and screenplays in varying stages, in addition to Annie Hall, come from the films Midnight in Paris, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Manhattan, Sleeper, and What’s New, Pussycat?. The 77-year-old filmmaker decided to donate his papers to the Firestone library through his acquaintance with alumnus Laurance Rockefeller. By agreement, the papers may not be photographed or copied.

The scripts are on view in the library’s Eighteenth Century Window in the Rare Books and Special Collections department, which is to the right of the entrance. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.