Woolly Woody

Woody and his Women by Tim Carroll Little Brown $272 EVEN the most devoted fans of Allan Konigsberg, better known as Woody Allen - one-time stand-up comic now actor and film-maker - must have grown weary over the past year of the highly-publicised courtroom wrangle between Allen and his companion of 12 years, Mia Farrow.

The row was over his affair with one of Mia Farrow's many adopted children, Soon-Yi, not to mention (although it was, of course) Allen's relationships with the other children, whom Farrow had accumulated during her various attachments and a child with Allen.

This is the history of two mixed-up people: they both seem to have spent so much time on the analyst's couch it's amazing they had time for all their weddings.

Mia Farrow, who always managed to look on screen like a poor homeless waif, was brought up as a rich Catholic California girl in Beverly Hills.

Her name was Maria, but she couldn't pronounce it as a child so she became Mia. By the age of 12 she was referred to a psychiatrist. A few years later, as a flower child of the 60s, she married Frank Sinatra.

Her next husband was Andre Previn. But the marriage also failed and this time she ended up with Woody Allen. He had been born into a poor, Jewish family in Brooklyn and had clawed his way to success, past a possessive Yiddish Momma. He, too, had a couple of failed marriages along the way.


Those are the facts gleaned from this author who - as he acknowledges - gleaned them from other people's writings.

As a book, three-quarters of it reads like a cunningly constructed scissors and paste job written in advance of what's called here ''one of the most sensational court cases in recent times''. The case itself is largely dependent on court reports.

This is another 350 pages to join all the amazing other outpourings about Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in whatever sarcophagus is reserved for trivial tales about trivial people.