Еще один очень образный и дающий четкое представление о мироощущении Вуди фрагмент:

Just imagine a scorching summer day in Flatbush. The mercury hits ninety-five and the humidity is suffocating. There was no air-conditioning, that is, unless you went inside a movie house. You eat your morning soft-boiled eggs in a coffee cup in a tiny kitchen on a linoleum-covered floor and a table draped with oilcloth. The radio is playing “Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet” or “Tess’s Torch Song.” Your parents are in yet another stupid “discussion,” as my mother called them, which stopped just short of exchanging gunfire. Either she spilled sour cream on his new shirt or he embarrassed her by parking his taxicab in front of the house. God forbid the neighbors should discover she married a cabdriver instead of a Supreme Court justice. My father never tired of telling me that he once picked up Babe Ruth. “Gave me a lousy tip,” was all he could remember about the Sultan of Swat. I thought of it years later when I was a comic working at the Blue Angel and Sonny, the doorman, gave me his character rundown of Billy Rose, the wealthy Broadway sport who loved playing big shot. “A quarter man,” Sonny sneered, having learned to categorize all humans by the square footage of their gratuities. I tease my parents in this account of my life, but each imparted knowledge to me that has served me wrell over the decades. From my father: When buying a newspaper from a newsstand, never take the top one. From Mom: The label always goes in the back.

So it’s a hot summer day and you kill the morning returning deposit bottles to the market to earn two cents per bottle so you can ante up at the Midwood or the Vogue or the Elm, our nearest local three movie houses. Three thousand miles away in Europe, Jews are being shot and gassed for no good reason by ordinary Germans who do it with great relish and have no trouble finding coat holders all over the continent. You sweat your way down Coney Island Avenue, an ugly avenue replete with used car lots, funeral homes, hardware stores, till the exciting marquee comes into view. The sun is now high and brutal. The trolley makes noise, cars are honking, two men are locked in the moronic choreography of road rage and are screaming and starting to swing at each other. The shorter, weaker one is running to secure his tire iron. You buy your ticket, walk in, and suddenly the harsh heat and sunlight vanished and you are in a cool, dark, alternate reality. OK, so they’re only images—but what images! The matron, an elderly lady in white, guides you to your seat with her flashlight. You’ve spent your last nickel on some blissful confection fancifully christened Jujubes or Chuckles. And now you look up at the screen and to the music of Cole Porter or Irving Berlin’s unspeakably beautiful melodies, there appears the Manhattan skyline. I’m in good hands. I’m not going to see a story about guys in overalls on a farm who rise early to milk cows and whose goal in life is to win a ribbon at the state fair or train their horse to transcend a series of equine tribulations and place first in the local harness race. And mercifully, no dog will save anyone and no character with a twang will hook his finger into a jug’s ear to suck out the contents, and no string will be attached to any boy’s toe as he dozes at the old fishing hole.

To this day, if the opening shot of a movie is a close-up of a flag being thrown and the flag is on the meter of a yellow cab, I stay. If it’s on a mailbox, I’m out of there. No, my characters will awaken and the curtains to their bedroom will part, revealing New York City with its tall buildings and every bit of its thrilling possibilities out there, and my cast will either dine in bed with a bed tray complete with a holder for the morning paper—or at a table with linen and silver and this guy’s egg will come to the table in an egg cup so he just has to tap the shell to get to the yolk and there will be no news of extermination camps, only maybe a front page showing some beautiful babe with another guy that sets Fred Astaire off since he loves her. Or, if it’s breakfast for a married couple, they actually care about each other after years of being together and she doesn’t dwell on his failures, and he doesn’t call her a douchebag. And when the movie ends, the second feature is a detective thriller where some hard-boiled private eye solves all life’s problems with a sock in the jaw and goes off with a stacked tomato the likes of which did not exist in any of my classes or any of the weddings, funerals, or bar mitzvahs I attended. And by the way, I never attended a funeral: I was ahvays spared reality. The first and only dead body I ever saw was that of Thelonious Monk, when I stopped off en route for dinner at Elaine’s to view him out of respect as he lay in state in a funeral home on Third Avenue. I took Mia Farrow with me; it was very early in our dating, and she was polite but dismayed and should have known then she was beginning a relationship with the wrong dreamer, but that whole mishigas comes later.

So now the double feature is over and I leave the comfortable, dark magic of the movie house and reenter Coney Island Avenue, the sun, the traffic, back to the wretched apartment on Avenue K. Back into the clutches of my archenemy, reality. In my movie «Sleeper», as part of one comic sequence, by some kind of mind- bending process I imagine I’m Blanche Du Bois from Streetcar Named Desire. I speak in a feminine, southern accent trying to make the sequence funny while Diane Keaton does a perfect Brando. Keaton’s the type who complains, “Oh I can’t do this, I can’t imitate Marlon Brando.” Like the girls in class who tell you how lousy they did on the test and the results come back and they’re straight A’s. Naturally, her Brando is better than my Blanche, but my point is, in real life I am Blanche. Blanche says, “I don’t want reality, I want magic.” And I have always despised reality and lusted after magic. I tried to be a magician, but found I could only manipulate cards and coins and not the universe.

And so, because of cousin Rita, I was introduced to movies, movie stars, Hollywood with its patriotic morality and miraculous endings; and while I brushed off everything everyone tried to teach me, from my parents to my Spanish teachers when I’d already had the two years of Spanish, Hollywood took. Modern Screen. Photoplay. Bogart, Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Rita Hayworth—their celluloid world was what I learned. The larger-than-life, the superficial, the falsely glamorous, but I do not regret a frame of it. When asked which character in my films is most like me on the screen, you only have to look at Cecilia in «Purple Rose of Cairo».

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