Sleeper - (Woody Allen) - 1973

This is Woody's slapstick movie.  In it, he pays tribute to the physical humor of the Marx Brorthers, Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), Buster Keaton (1895-1966) and Harold Lloyd (1893-1971).  There is a great future scene with Woody being chased on a giant banana peel and then beating his chaser senseless with a strawberry.  More than any of his other movies, this one relies on the physical instead of written jokes.

Woody was a health food restaurant owner from Greenwich Village who was cryogenically-frozen after a minor peptic ulcer surgery went awry.  Two hundred years later, he is revived by an underground group of doctors who want him to lead their revolution against the brutal, Bib-Brother-type dictator.  However, their plot is discovered by the ever-present security forces but Woody escapes disguised as a robot with glasses.

Robot-Woody was then delivered to the home of Diane Keaton, appearing in her first of seven movies directed by Woody.  She also appeared in Play It Again, Sam, the Broadway play and film adaptation written by Woody.  Keaton's character in Sleeper is a naive, professional poet who lives a leisure life of daily parties and modern conveniences such as the "orgasmitron" and the mind-altering "orb".  She sends Woody back to the shop for a new head.

Woody escapes from the robot repair shop using a large chunk of bleu cheese and returns to kidnap Keaton while trying to convince her to join the rebels.  She resists but does share a giant banana and a giant celery stalk with him.  Keaton finally changes her mind when she realizes that the security forces are planning to eliminate her just because of her knowledge of the alien.  She escapes to the underground but Woody is captured and re-programmed by being forced to participate as Miss Montana in a beauty contest.

The rebels free the brainwashed Woody and begin a re-programming process in the jungle.  First, they recreate the dinner table of his Jewish parents.  Then they perform a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire with Woody in the Blanche DuBois role and Keaton as Marlon Brando (1924-2004).  When Woody is cured, Keaton sings for him the rebel song she wrote (same song that Esposito sang in Bananas).  Woody and Diane then pose as clone doctors, take the dictator's nose as hostage, and go back to her apartment for some serious orgasmitron/orb action.

Along the way, Woody makes fun of Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) - "mayor of New York", Charles DeGaulle (1890-1970) - "famous French chef", Norman Mailor (1923-2007) - "donated his ego to Harvard Medical School", Howard Cosell (1918-1995) - "20th century punishment", Richard Nixon (1913-1994), Billy Graham, F.Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), Chiang Kai Shek (1887-1975), Joseph Stalin (1878-1953), Margaret Keane, Xavier Cugat (1900-1990), McDonalds restaurants, Volkswagens, Miss America (see also Bananas), New Jersey, the Mafia and Jewish tailors.  He also learns that doctors in 2173 now know that deep fat, steaks, cream pies, hot fudge and tobacco are among the most healthful things for mankind. [JAM 10/19/2009] 

["Sleeper is a picture every kid in America could see and find funny.  It's exactly the kind of picture that I used to see as a kid and love.  I don't want to be confined to intellectual humor, especially since I have zero intellectual cedentials." Conversations with Woody Allen - May 1973]

["At the start I had the insane idea to make it a four-hour movie with an intermission.  The first two hours were to be me in New York living my life.  It would hopefully have been funny.  And at the end of it I was to fall into a vat of liquid nitrogen and freeze.  Then there would be an intermission and after it the entire New York landscape would have changed - it would be two hundred years in the future and everything would be white and strange." Conversations with Woody Allen - November 2005]