Filmsite Movie Review
Play It Again, Sam (1972)
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Play It Again, Sam (1972) is director Herbert Ross' adaptation of Woody Allen's own Broadway play. It follows the romantic trials and life of a San Francisco movie buff and film critic (for Film Quarterly), Allan Felix (Woody Allen). He is neurotic, shy, fanatical about films, and obsessed over the film Casablanca (1942). He tries to model his behavior after the personality of its tough guy actor Humphrey Bogart.

The tagline on film posters declared: "It's still the same old story, a fight for love and glory." Another stated:

"By day, he is Woody Allen...but when night falls and the moon rises, Humphrey Bogart Strikes Again."

[Note: A predictable spin-off, the romantic comedy Touch of Pink (2004) from Canadian writer/director Ian Iqbal Rashid (his debut feature film), portrayed the Woody Allen character as a young Canadian gay man in London being advised by a ghostly Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan).]

The Story

Allan's wife Nancy Felix (Susan Anspach) deserts him at the start of the film because she tells him, "'re one of life's great watchers...I'm not like that, I'm a doer..." He receives encouragement and coaching on how to make it with the ladies from the fantasy ghost of his film idol Humphrey Bogart (Jerry Lacy).

Dames are simple. I never met one that didn't understand a slap in the mouth or a slug from a forty-five.

His married friends, Dick Christie (Tony Roberts) and Linda (Diane Keaton) agree to help him find another woman. He thinks about "stepping out" a little, bringing "broads...swingers, freaks, nymphomaniacs, dental hygienists" up to his apartment. Allan always has a great one-liner, such as:

I hate the beach. I hate the sun. I'm pale and I'm red-headed. I don't tan - I stroke!

Funniest scenes are:

  • Allan's disastrous, fumbling first blind date experiences when he attempts to be "cool" but ends up swinging his arm wildly, sending an Oscar Peterson record out of its album cover to crash against the wall, and as he leans over a chair, clumsily tipping it over.
  • His embarrassing attempt to be excessively macho to impress his date by demonstrating how Chinese authentically shovel rice into their mouths.

Allan does find the girl of his dreams, but it happens to be Linda. After they make love, Linda asks him what he was thinking about. He tells her baseball players. She says she couldn't figure out why he kept yelling, "Slide."

The final scene is masterfully intercut with clips from the classic farewell scene of the fog-shrouded runway in Casablanca. Allan delivers his version of the classic farewell ending from the film when he gives up Linda.