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Zelig

( 3 )

Overview

Leonard Zelig, the "human chameleon," is profiled in this mock-documentary. Director Woody Allen appears as Zelig in scenes that purport to be vintage newsreel clips of the 1920s and 1930s, but are actually clever recreations, "aged" and scratched-up Citizen Kane-style by special-effects maestros Joel Hynick, Stuart Robinson and R. Greenberg Associates. An appropriately pompous narrator details the life and times of Leonard Zelig, whose overwhelming desire for conformity is manifested in his ability to take on ...
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Overview

Leonard Zelig, the "human chameleon," is profiled in this mock-documentary. Director Woody Allen appears as Zelig in scenes that purport to be vintage newsreel clips of the 1920s and 1930s, but are actually clever recreations, "aged" and scratched-up Citizen Kane-style by special-effects maestros Joel Hynick, Stuart Robinson and R. Greenberg Associates. An appropriately pompous narrator details the life and times of Leonard Zelig, whose overwhelming desire for conformity is manifested in his ability to take on the facial and vocal characteristics of whomever he happens to be around at the moment. He shows up at batting practice with Babe Ruth, among William Randolph Hearst's guests as San Simeon, side by side with Pope Pius at the Vatican, and peering anxiously over the shoulder of Adolf Hitler at the Nuremberg Rally. Becoming a celebrity in his own right, Zelig inspires a song, a dance craze, and a Warner Bros. biopic. Mia Farrow plays Dr. Eudora Fletcher , a psychiatrist who tries to "reach" Zelig and ultimately falls in love with him all of Farrow's scenes are in black-and-white and allegedly culled from archive footage; Ellen Garrison, whose resemblance to Farrow is uncanny, plays the older Dr. Fletcher in the interview sequences. In the manner of Reds, the influence of the fictional Leonard Zelig on popular culture is discussed by such real-life notables as Susan Sontag, Irving Howe, Saul Bellow and Dr. Bruno Bettenheim.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Predating Forrest Gump (1994) by more than a decade, this delightful mockumentary about a nebbish who inserts himself into some of the most important historical events of his time is a fun departure from filmmaker Woody Allen's usual ensemble comedy-drama format. At the same time, all of Allen's obsessions are present: a fondly nostalgic vision of New York City's past, jazz, psychotherapy, and a magical high-concept twist. Fans and reviewers tended to focus on the film's groundbreaking photographic effects at the time, as Allen's character is inserted seamlessly into still images and archival motion picture footage from the era. It's a superb job and difficult to tell scenes that have been digitally altered from ones that have been re-created (one must look closely at the Nazi rally to realize that's not Adolf Hitler at the podium). However, an Allen picture wouldn't be the same if it did nothing more than scratch an impressive surface, and the Woodman doesn't disappoint with a story that's really a potent fable about self-respect and individuality in the face of oppressive conformity. At less than 90 minutes, Zelig (1983) may be too slight to rate alongside such Allen classics as Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), but this likable, funny project is certainly at the top of the artist's B-list.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/1/1993
  • UPC: 085392202737
  • Original Release: 1983
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Woody Allen Leonard Zelig
Mia Farrow Dr. Eudora Fletcher
Garrett M. Brown Actor Zelig
Stephanie Farrow Sister Meryl
Will Holt Rally Chancellor
Sol Lomita Martin Geist
John Rothman Paul Deghuee
Deborah Rush Lita Fox
Marianne Tatum Actress Fletcher
Susan Sontag Herself
Irving Howe Himself
Saul Bellow Himself
Bricktop Herself
Dr. Bruno Bettelheim Himself
Alice Beardsley Telephone Operator
Ralph Bell Other Doctor
Robert Berger Zelig's Lawyer
Prof. John Morion Blum Himself
Erma Campbell Zelig's Wife
Ken Chapin On-Camera Interviewer
Marvin Chatinover Glandular Diagnosis Doctor
Wendy Craig Herself
Jordan Derwin
John Doumanian Greek Waiter
Howard Erskine Hypodermic Doctor
Sharon Ferrol Miss Baker
Ellen Garrison Older Doctor Fletcher
Gordon Gould Voice Only
George Hamlin Experimental Drugs Doctor
Gale Hansen Freshman No. 1
Ed Herlihy Voice Only
Patrick Horgan Narrator, Narrator
Will Hussung Other Doctor
Jeanine Jackson Helen Gray
Vincent Jerosa Hearst Guest
Michael Jeter Freshman #2
Kim Johnston-Ulrich
Gerald Klein Hearst Guest
Jurgen Kuehn Voice Only
Richard Litt Charles Koslow
Peter McRobbie Workers Rally Speaker
Stanley Simmonds Lita's Lawyer
Kuno Sponholz Oswald Pohl
Jean Trowbridge Dr. Fletcher's Mother
Paula Trueman Woman at Telephone
Dimitri Vassilopoulos Martinez
Dwight Weist Voice Only
Richard Whiting Other Doctor
Louise Wilson Sister Ruth
Technical Credits
Woody Allen Director, Screenwriter
Les Bloom Set Decoration/Design
Mel Bourne Production Designer
Fern Buchner Makeup
John Caglione Jr. Makeup Special Effects
Danny D. Daniels Choreography
Robert Greenhut Producer
Speed Hopkins Art Director
Dick Hyman Score Composer, Songwriter
Charles H. Joffe Executive Producer
Santo Loquasto Costumes/Costume Designer
Susan E. Morse Editor
Michael Peyser Associate Producer, Production Manager
Gordon Willis Cinematographer
Jack Rollins Executive Producer
Fredric B. Blankfein Asst. Director
Juliet Taylor Casting
James J. Sabat Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Molly Production Designer
Frank Graziadei Sound/Sound Designer
Kerry Hayes Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
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    Posted December 27, 2009

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    Posted July 24, 2010

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    Posted October 17, 2008

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