Available on DVD !
To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat
Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
Kleinman (Woody Allen), pretty much your typical nobody, is rudely
woken up one night and pretty much forced to join the vigilantes who are
tracking down a killer (Michael Kirby) who is roaming the streets of an
anonymous city. But as quickly as he has joined the vigilantes, he has
also lost them and sees himself forced to wander the streets on his own,
looking for the vigilantes who are said to have this great plan of which
he is a vital part - and of which he has not the least idea.
Eventually he visits the Doctor (Donald Pleasence), who might know
what's going on, but only shortly afterwards the Doctor is found killed,
and a glass covered in fingerprints is found with the corpse.
Unfortunately, at the police station Kleinman recognizes the glass as the
one he was using when he visited the Doctor, and thus he steals the glass
In an at first unrelated story, Irmy (Mia Farrow) sword swallower of a
circus that camps nearby, falls out with her fiancé the Clown (John
Malkovich) because he has become too friendly with the trapeze artiste
(Madonna), and actually leaves the circus. And before you know it, she is
offered abode in a brothel, just to spend the night though. But then a
rich student (John Cusack) offers her an enormous sum of money just to spend
an hour with him, and the money combined with his flattery convince
her to give in to him - and wouldn't you know it, she really enjoys it ...
but soon afterwards she is arrested in a raid because she has no permit to
work as a prostitute, but ultimately she's let off with a fine.
At the police station, Kleinman and Irmy meet, and since neither of
them has anything better to do they decide to wander the dark and foggy
streets together - but evetnually they run into all sorts of problems when
they learn that the vigilante group has been split up and each fraction
tries to claim Kleinman. Then a mentalist is brought in who is said to be
able to sniff out murderers ... and he soon sniffs out the Doctor's glass
Kleinman is still carrying, and suddenly everybody seems to be believing
he is the killer, and they want to lynch him on the spot - and Kleinman
can only just escape his execution ...
Meanwhile Irmy meets up with the Clown, her fiancé again, they
reconcile, find a baby in the arms of a dead woman and decide to take care
of it together ...
Kleinman's escape takes him to the circus, where he is tracked down by
the killer - but with the help of the circus's magician (Kenneth Mars) he
can not only escape the killer but also put him in chains. To no avail
though, the killer still escapes, but Kleinman, realizing that he is a
wanted killer in his hometown, decides to become the magician's new
assistant - a position that has become vacant only recently - and travel
with the circus ...
Lily Tomlin, Jodie Foster, Anne Lange and Kathy Bates can all be seen
Partly, this film is based on Death, a short play Woody Allen
has written and released in the 1970's but never brought to the stage let
alone screen. In itself, Death is actually a quite ingenious piece
of work, a Kafka-esque comedy about your typical Woody Allen-nobody who
has become part of a vigilante commitee against his will and now is forced
to wander the dark streets of the city on his own which are the roaming
grounds of a serial killer. And in the end, Kleinman becomes the killer's
victim after having become the prime suspect first.
For Shadows and Fog though, allen seems to have lost all faith
into his play and has added a totally irrelevant and rather cheesy subplot
about Mia Farrow's Irmy and her fellow circus performers - which totally
clashes with Death's Kafka-esque tone - and has given the whole
thing a happy ending that makes little sense regarding the rest of the
film, that started out so strong with scenes lifted directly from the
Stylistically, the film is a quite obvious hommage to horror films from
the 1930's and 40's, and in a way, all the sets look very authentic and
atmospheric - but unfortunately Allen tries to hard to stick to his source
material so everything also looks a bit sterile - which is quite a shame
considering the beautiful sets.
The film might not be a total loss, but it's certainly one of Woody
Allen's weaker films and is full of missed opportunities. Pity !