Filmsite Movie Review
Bananas (1971)
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Bananas (1971) is the story of a New Yorker who becomes a South American rebel leader, to impress his political activist love interest Nancy (Louise Lasser). It is typically filled with many of Woody Allen's funny one-liners and gags.

The Story

The hero in this early comedy is a clumsy, anxiety-ridden Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen).

Memorable scenes, images, and one-liners:

- The classic opening scene is commentator Howard Cosell's coverage of a Latin-American president's assassination for ABC's Wide World of Sports. His commentary includes: "Well, of course, you're upset."

- As a young boy, Fielding's electric blanket electrocuted him because he was a bed-wetter.

- Fielding stole pornographic books printed in Braille and then rubbed the dirty parts with his hands.

- Fielding's job is testing products for a marketing research corporation (including a stereo headphones coffin for Californians).

- The "execucisor" scene: Fielding tests exercise equipment (gone haywire) for busy executives who must exercise at their desks, a tribute to Chaplin's Modern Times.

- Fielding's embarrassment when a shop dealer makes it obvious to other customers that he is purchasing a pornographic magazine ("Hey Ralph! How much is a copy of Orgasm?").

Fielding visits a fictional Latin-American "banana republic" and eventually winds up as the head of a rebel army, sporting Castro-like fatigues and a false red beard. As accidental leader of the tiny island nation of San Marcos, he delivers a stuttering, outrageously inappropriate keynote speech at a high society fundraiser:

Although the United States is, uh, a very rich country and San Marcos is a very poor one, there are a great many things we have to offer your country in return for aid. For instance, there, uh, there are locusts. Uh, we have more locusts than...uh, locusts of all races and creeds. These, these locusts, incidentally, are available at popular prices. And so, by the way, are most of the women of San Marcos...despite the tiny size of our nation, few people realize that we lead the world in hernias. They also fail to realize that before Columbus discovered your country, he stopped in San Marcos and contracted a disease which today can be cured with one shot of penicillin...

He is trained in first-aid treatment for snakebite, sucking out the poison, pursuing a topless woman who tells everyone she was bitten by a snake on her breast, with everyone else in pursuit.

Rebel Fielding feeds his Latin-American revolutionary troops by going into a restaurant in the jungle and ordering take-out, almost a thousand grilled-cheese sandwiches and beverages.

He is arrested and brought to trial for treason upon his return to the US in which he cross-examines himself and objects to the judge: "I object your honor. This trial is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham. I move for a mistrial."

In the concluding scene, Howard Cosell again provides live television coverage of the play-by-play of Fielding's honeymoon night.