Play It Again, Sam (1972)

Directed by Herbert Ross
USA | PG | Comedy, Romance | English, Italian | 85
Venue: The Yard, Alserkal Avenue

Herbert Ross directed this adaptation of Woody Allen’s hit Broadway play. Its central character is Allan Felix, a shy guy who is having trouble with women. Woody Allen himself appears in this role, as a film critic for an academic film journal who is obsessed by movies. His favorite film of all time is Casablanca, whose theme song provides this film’s title. Allan’s wife Nancy (Susan Anspach) has just left him and is getting a divorce. Unable to deal with this emotional turmoil, Allan seeks solace in the old movies he loves, imagining Casablanca’s star, Humphrey Bogart (Jerry Lacy) has dropped by his apartment to offer him classic movie tough-guy advice on dealing with the ladies (“Dames are simple. I never met one that didn’t understand a slap in the mouth or a slug from a 45”).

Seemingly of more practical help are Allan’s good friends Dick and Linda Christie (Tony Roberts and Diane Keaton). They fix him up with a succession of women, but all the dates end disastrously because of the critic’s nervousness and insecurity. Finally, Allan realizes that he has been spending more time with Linda than anyone else and he is becoming attracted to her – she’s the only woman he truly feels comfortable around. Linda proves unexpectedly receptive to Allan’s advances, since Dick’s workaholic ways leave her neglected and ignored.