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Demand up for Allen's 'Manhattan'


All of a sudden, Woody Allen's 1979 movie "Manhattan" is a hot rental in the home-video market.

The reason is obvious. His affair with Mia Farrow's adopted daughter is the biggest entertainment-industry scandal -- and the favorite gossip topic -- since Pee-wee Herman creator Paul Reubens' arrest last summer. The "Manhattan" tale, to some degree, mirrors Mr. Allen's current trauma.

He stars as a comedy writer having an affair with a high school girl, played by Mariel Hemingway. The plot thickens when he dumps his teen-age flame in favor of a neurotic writer (Diane Keaton).

A waiting list for "Manhattan" is apparently commonplace. A spot-check of stores in big cities around the country indicated that retailers haven't been able to keep it in stock this week.

All said there was no unusual demand for the film before the scandal. The retailers said that there was no particular surge of interest in any of the other Allen movies -- even those co-starring Ms. Farrow.

In Baltimore, however, stores like Video Americain on Cold Spring Lane have noticed increased requests for all Woody Allen and Mia Farrow films, including "Manhattan." Although "people haven't been knocking down the doors," at Video Americain, says James Hovanec, an employee there, customers have shown more of an interest in watching the object of the latest gossip.

This isn't unusual, according to Matt Gross, a customer service representative at Blockbuster Video on Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie. "Whenever anything like that happens," Mr. Gross said, "videos [rentals] go up on that subject," he says, citing the increase for the Ice-T "Cop Killer" video earlier this summer when the Fraternal Order of Police was protesting it.

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