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Desson Thomson Recommends

Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page N03

In these three films, Woody Allen goes to the dark side -- successfully. And you don't feel as though you're stuck in Manhattan, either.

Stardust Memories (91 minutes, 1980). This is Allen's answer to Federico Fellini's "8 1/2," a self-portrait of the artist as a put-upon filmmaker surrounded and engulfed by sycophants, groupies and studio gnats, and also unable to love or find true love. It contains some of Allen's most assured work and pays appropriately rapturous attention to Charlotte Rampling. (Rated PG)

Allen discusses a scene in "Interiors" with Diane Keaton. (United Artists)

Crimes and Misdemeanors (107 minutes, 1989). Martin Landau is a tormented man who considers murdering his mistress when she threatens to expose his affair and financial misdeeds. Allen creates a darkly provocative world in which people consider themselves above morality. And he leavens the gloom and doom by playing a wisecracking film director forced to make a documentary about a superficial TV producer (Alan Alda). (Rated PG-13)

Interiors (93 minutes, 1978). Allen's first foray into serious drama took a lot of people by surprise. Too bad. The film is a rather fine American chamber piece, clearly influenced by Ingmar Bergman. It's a sort of feminine "King Lear," too, with Geraldine Page as the dire, dominating matriarch of three daughters (Diane Keaton, Mary Beth Hurt and Kristin Griffith). (Rated PG)

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