Given that Woody Allen pours so much of himself into his films — despite his protests to the contrary — can we really expect to learn more from a documentary? Director Robert B. Weide (“How to Lose Friends & Alienate People”) attempts to dig deeper in “Woody Allen: A Documentary,” an over-arching portrait of Allen’s life and work as a filmmaker, comedian and actor. Originally a three-hour series made for American public television, it hits the cinemas with a more easily digested length.

The doc starts off tracing Allen’s childhood in the New York borough of Brooklyn in the 1940s and ’50s and relates how Allen landed a job as a comedy writer while still a teen; he’d go in after school and bang out 50 jokes a day.

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