From the Woody Allen Archives: Auteur Was to Play Porn Director Longing for Young Woman

Princeton collection of nearly 60 years worth of Allen’s notes “drips with repetitious misogyny,” says writer

Last Updated: January 4, 2018 @ 3:38 PM

Nearly six decades worth of creative materials, notes and scripts by Woody Allen have been examined and the findings are, well, not good.

In an essay for The Washington Post, titled, “I read decades of Woody Allen’s private notes. He’s obsessed with teenage girls.,” freelance writer Richard Morgan discussed his exploration of 57 years worth of notes from the film auteur’s personal archives at Princeton University. Morgan concluded it “drips with repetitious misogyny” as a whole.

Among the notes was a script for an unproduced project called “The Filmmaker,” which followed a documentarian who moonlights as a porn director and who falls in love with a younger woman and destroys his relationship with another woman to chase after the new target of his affection. Morgan said that the character is so similar to the director who wrote him that he describes the documentarian as “Fake Woody.”

“Fake Woody falls in love with Jennifer the only way Real Woody and his co-author know how to write it,” writes Morgan. “At first sight, cosmically, instinctively, overwhelmingly and then — as if it’s flattering — obsessively, in the pattern of that 53-year-old man in the elevator, who ends up sending his 17-year-old neighbor a valentine. The contents of that love note are instructive to Allen’s sense of courtship and, in creative terms, to his sense of how chemistry forms between two characters.”

Allen’s own words, as cited by Morgan, are perhaps the most illustrative of the director’s penchant for fantasies about underage girls. He writes of Spanish socialite Nati Abascal, who worked with him during the making of his 1971 comedy “Bananas”: “I came to appreciate her body for what it was as time went by, namely, a girl’s body. . . . Soon she got used to my ways. Aware of my position as father figure on the set (a director is just that) I allowed her to come to me with her problems. When she never showed up, I came to her with mine.”

He wrote of real-life actress Janet Margolin, who appeared in “Annie Hall” and “Take the Money and Run” (she was in her late twenties when she started working with Allen): “Occasionally I was forced to make love to her to get a decent performance. I did what I had to but in a businesslike way.”

Morgan said that Allen’s tendency to write stories about older men falling in love with young women — and in which the older man reads as an author surrogate — can be seen throughout the Princeton archive. Morgan also wrote that the story template was the basis for the 1979 film “Manhattan,” in which Allen plays a middle-aged comedy writer who is dating a teenager, played by Mariel Hemingway. The scene in which the two kiss was the first kiss Hemingway gave to anyone, and the actress later said in an interview that after the scene she pleaded not to do it again.

“There’s nothing criminal about an 82-year-old’s fixation with 18-year-olds, and it’s not whip-out-your-penis, button-under-the-desk bad. But it’s deeply, anachronistically gross,” concluded Morgan. “More than that, he seems not to care about bettering or changing himself in any way. He lives and thinks and creates as he did in the 1970s, nearly a half-century ago. He’s a reminder that our future, however woke it becomes, will not be full of social-justice valedictorians quoting James Baldwin and Roxane Gay.”