STARRING: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Marya Small, Bartlett Robinson, Mary Gregory, John Beck, Chris Forbes, Peter Hobbs

1973, 88 Minutes, Directed by: Woody Allen

sleeper.jpg (14945 bytes)Not to be confused with the similarly titled  Sleepers - something entirely different altogether.

Sleeper is a 1973 Woody Allen comedy about a nebbish (Allen himself, in his usual neurotic persona) who pulls a Buck Rogers stunt by being revived after spending 200 years in a coma after a minor operation that went wrong. Suddenly he finds himself being pursued by the red leather clad and motorbike helmet wearing police of a totalitarian government.

Along the way Allen unwillingly becomes involved with a plot to get rid of this future totalitarian America's Leader (who looks suspiciously like the Pope in a wheelchair) of whom nothing remains but his nose after a explosion ripped his house apart. "I'm not cut out for this," Allen protests to his would-be co-conspirators, "I was beaten up by Quakers once!"

Yup, that's right. Sleeper belongs to Allen's pre-Annie Hall movie output when he relied heavier on pure slapstick and one-liners to elicit laughs from his audiences. So don't go see Sleeper expecting a Husbands and Wives or Hannah's Sisters type of sophisticated or more intellectual film, Sleeper (despite featuring some typical Woody Allen one-liners) draws its inspiration more from Buster Keaton comedies than Ingmar Bergman. Sort of the attempts at humor in Sleeper falls flat, but it doesn't really matter because the film is so fast-paced that another joke is just around the next corner.

Also, some sequences are hilariously funny. The scene in which Allen imitates an android servant to avoid detection in Diane Keaton's household and battles a huge blob of instant pudding rivals anything ever done by Charlie Chaplin and is simply brilliant in its execution. Madcap, irreverent and offbeat are adjectives one would use to describe Sleeper.

If you're a self-confessed Woody Allen freak like me (even his lesser films are much more interesting than most mainstream movies) then you'd definitely want to check it out. If you're slightly ambivalent towards Allen's usual neurotic in New York shtick then you might also want to check it out - it's genuinely funny and if you can hack the pure silliness of the Naked Gun or Airplane! movies then you'll be in for a good time . . .


Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: This pre-Annie Hall (and Mia Farrow) Woody Allen movie is pure slapstick fun that rates with the best of the likes of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Hilariously funny and Woody Allen detractors might be pleased to know that Sleeper doesn't feature his usual set in New York, intellectual angst and neurosis material . . .


# 70
of the
Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies
of all time



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