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Interiors moviep.jpg
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by Charles H. Joffe
Written by Woody Allen
Starring Geraldine Page
Diane Keaton
Mary Beth Hurt
Kristin Griffith
Richard Jordan
E. G. Marshall
Maureen Stapleton
Sam Waterston
Cinematography Gordon Willis
Editing by Ralph Rosenblum
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates August 2, 1978[1]
Running time 99 min.[2][3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million[1]
Box office $10,432,366[1]

Interiors is a 1978 drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. Featured performers are Kristin Griffith, Mary Beth Hurt, Richard Jordan, Diane Keaton, E. G. Marshall, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton and Sam Waterston.

Page received a BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. The film received four other Oscar nominations, two for Allen's screenplay and direction, one for Stapleton as Best Actress in a Supporting Role and another for Mel Bourne and Daniel Robert for their art direction and set decoration.[4] It is Allen's first full-fledged film in the drama genre and, by far, his most serious film yet, as it portrays one of his characters' inconsolable urge to commit suicide.


The film centers around the three children of Arthur (E. G. Marshall), a corporate attorney, and Eve (Geraldine Page), an interior decorator. Renata (Diane Keaton) is a poet whose husband Frederick, a struggling writer, feels eclipsed by her success. Flyn (Kristin Griffith) is a vain actress who is away most of the time filming; the low quality of her films is an object of ridicule behind her back. Joey (Mary Beth Hurt), who is married to Mike (Sam Waterston), cannot settle on a career, and resents her mother for favoring Renata.

One morning, Arthur unexpectedly announces that he wants a separation from his wife and would like to live alone. Eve, who is clinically depressed and mentally unstable, attempts suicide. The shock of these two events causes a rift between the sisters. Arthur returns from a trip to Greece with Pearl (Maureen Stapleton), a high-spirited and more "normal" woman, whom he intends to marry. His daughters are disturbed that Arthur would disregard Eve's suicide attempt and find another woman, whom Joey refers to as "vulgarian".

Arthur and Pearl marry at their summer home, with Renata, Joey and Flyn in attendance. Later in the evening, Joey lashes out at Pearl when she accidentally breaks one of Eve's vases. In the middle of the night, Frederick drunkenly attempts to rape Flyn. Meanwhile, Joey finds Eve in the house, and somberly explains how much she has given up for her mother, and how disdainfully she is treated. Eve walks out onto the beach and into the surf. Joey, Mike and Pearl attempt unsuccessfully to save her, but Joey almost drowns. In a twist of fate, Pearl saves her life.

The film ends with the family silently attending Eve's funeral and laying flowers on her grave.



Allen's own fears about the film's reception are recounted in a biography of Allen by Eric Lax (2nd edition: ISBN 0-306-80985-0), where he quotes Ralph Rosenblum, the film's editor:[5]

He [Allen] managed to rescue Interiors, much to his credit. He was against the wall. I think he was afraid. He was testy, he was slightly short-tempered. He was fearful. He thought he had a real bomb. But he managed to pull it out with his own work. The day the reviews came out, he said to me, 'Well, we pulled this one out by the short hairs, didn't we?'

Later, while watching the film with an acquaintance, Allen reportedly said "It's always been my fear. I think I'm writing Long Day's Journey Into Night and it turns into Edge of Night."[5]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times called the film "beautiful" and complimented Gordon Willis on his "use of cool colors that suggest civilization's precarious control of natural forces", but noted:[2]

My problem with Interiors is that although I admire the performances and isolated moments, as well as the techniques and the sheer, headlong courage of this great, comic, film-making philosopher, I haven't any real idea what the film is up to. It's almost as if Mr. Allen had set out to make someone else's movie, say a film in the manner of Mr. Bergman, without having any grasp of the material, or first-hand, gut feelings about the characters. They seem like other people's characters, known only through other people's art.

Richard Schickel of Time wrote that the film's "desperate sobriety ... robs it of energy and passion"; Allen's "style is Bergmanesque, but his material is Mankiewiczian, and the discontinuity is fatal. Doubtless this was a necessary movie for Allen, but it is both unnecessary and a minor embarrassment for his well-wishers."[6]

On the other hand, Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and praised it highly, saying, "Here we have a Woody Allen film, and we're talking about O'Neill and Bergman and traditions and influences? Yes, and correctly. Allen, whose comedies have been among the cheerful tonics of recent years, is astonishingly assured in his first drama." [7]

Nearly 30 years after the film was released, essayist David Rakoff slammed it in an article for Nextbook's online magazine of Jewish culture, calling it pretentious, with a "narcotized affect ... as chilly as an Alex Katz painting, with a similar goyische naches [goyish pleasure][8] anti-Semitic-by-omission Easthampton Waspiness obtaining to it all."[9]

Interiors grossed $10.43 million in the United States, [1] and currently has a 77% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 6.8/10.


The song "Death of an Interior Decorator" by Death Cab for Cutie is based on the plot of Interiors.

The movie is at least partly the inspiration for the song "Alice and Interiors" by the band Manchester Orchestra from their album I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child.

Author, NPR commentator and political satirist Sarah Vowell explicitly mentions Interiors in her book Assassination Vacation during a comedic tangent about Maureen Stapleton playing Emma Goldman in the film Reds: "And remember Stapleton in that Woody Allen movie, Interiors? Geraldine Page is all beige this and bland that so her husband divorces her and hooks up with noisy, klutzy Maureen Stapleton, who laughs too loud and smashes pottery and wears a blood-red dress to symbolize that she is Alive, capital A. Wait. I lost my train of thought. Where was I?"


  1. ^ a b c d Interiors from Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ a b August 1978 Review of Interiors by Vincent Canby for The New York Times
  3. ^ Box Office Mojo and Internet Movie Database list the length as 93 minutes, while the cover for the 2000 MGM Home Entertainment DVD release reports a running time of 92 minutes
  4. ^ "NY Times: Interiors". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  5. ^ a b Interiors from the Turner Classic Movies website
  6. ^ Darkest Woody, an August 1978 review by Richard Schickel for Time magazine
  7. ^ [1] Interiors, a review of August 2, 1978 by Roger Ebert
  8. ^ "Goyische naches" is a Yiddish expression, literally "heathen pleasure"; i.e. a mode of entertainment or pleasure inducement which no Jew would find entertaining or pleasurable, (Yiddish Word of the Week, accessed 23 September 2012), especially military service and sports (Professor Jeff Tobin, Course syllabus, Occidental College, accessed 23 September 2012).
  9. ^ Interiors and Stardust Memories by David Rakoff from Nextbook

External links[edit]