|Index||8 reviews in total|
Am I a jerk or what? I loved Duddy Kravitz. Even though he's a back
stabbing, robbing crook of a shmuck, who has every right to be
despised, I wound up rooting for him anyways. Do I feel guilty?
Absolutely not! And here's why. Richard Dreyfuss.
Based on Mordechai Richler's novel about growing up in 1950's Montreal. He's got the world coming to him. Well, at least he thinks he does. Quick to take advantage of every opportunity thrown at him, sometimes he gets way over his head, but that doesn't let him down for long, for soon he's after his next big score. Whether it be independent movies. Pinball, or a giant lakeside property.
My god, Richard Dreyfuss is the heart and soul of this movie. I am clearly lacking any idea of who else could have pulled this performance off so flawlessly. The supporting cast, including Micheline Lanctôt, Jack Warden, and, in a stunning performance, Randy Quaid, are all great. But Dreyfuss just steamrolls over them, literally and figuratively.
"A little bit of Duddy Kravitz in everyone," so the poster tells us. Yeah, I guess you could say that, although it is exaggerated in the film to get the message across (either that, or I haven't met anyone like that yet.) Dreyfuss' character is believable, and so is his father. I would have to say the only wooden character in the whole film is that of Lenny, Duddy's brother. There is a good message to get from the film--if you watch it, you won't be disappointed.
A Canadian film that isn't a joke. Wow. 'The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz' is a wonderful thing. Let's start with the novel. I read it as part of an English Lit class in High School and read it every autumn for seven years. It just goes so well with those first few blustery nights that arrive mid-October. Always tough for a screenplay to match up with a novel but novelist Mordecai Richler and Lionel Chetwynd were nominated for Academy Awards and lost to 'The Godfather Part 2's Coppola and Puzo - not bad. Wonderful to watch - just look at all the great street scenes, the country scenes, the autumn leaves, Duddy's well-lit apartment, Moe's Cigar Store...I mean, this is Canada keeping warm and cozy on a cool, October evening. The film, and the novel, are great to curl up with.
Duddy Kravitz (Richard Dreyfuss) is a hustling young Jewish man living
in a working class Montreal neighborhood. His older brother medical
student Lenny is the favorite of his father Max (Jack Warden) and his
rich uncle Benjy. His grandfather's mantra is "a man without land is
nobody" and sees every man in the family including himself as failures.
He works a summer job at a Jewish resort hotel. He falls for the French
Canadian maid named Yvette (Micheline Lanctôt). The other waiters from
McGill University led by Irwin look down on the lower class Duddy.
While on a picnic with Yvette, he decides to buy the land around a
beautiful lake and build his own hotel resort. She would need to front
the deal since the owners would probably be unwilling to sell to a Jew.
Duddy is a money grubbing Jew character and he's somewhat annoying. His obsession is also understandable and fascinating. It's wrapped up with daddy issues. I don't root for his quest but it is still compelling. This is a nice slice of an era as well as an interesting coming of age story. The production is adequate and Dreyfuss delivers a good performance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hot off "American Graffiti", Richard Dreyfuss starred in another movie
set in the era of Brylcream and poodle skirts: "The Apprenticeship of
Duddy Kravitz". This one chronicles the rise of a working-class Jewish
lad in 1948 Montreal. Duddy is determined to make it, even if he has to
do some undesirable things to get there. A particularly eye-opening
scene is when Duddy is working in the resort and a man offers him a
dollar bill, tears it in half, and promises Duddy the rest if he
provides good service.
So, maybe this isn't the greatest movie ever made, but it's an interesting look at one man's dreams, and at post-WWII Canada. Very good performances by everyone. Also starring Micheline Lanctot, Jack Warden, Randy Quaid, Joseph Wiseman (that's right, Dr. No) and Denholm Elliott. If I may say so, Yvette is really hot.
And to think that director Ted Kotcheff later directed the first "Rambo" movie.
The most jaw dropping aspect of this film is realizing that Richard
Dreyfuss was ever that young! He is perfect in the part of a pushy
young man trying to get rich quick anyway he can, after all, it is what
he has been raised to believe was the only goal in life. Although Duddy
is pushy and brash, he is still likable and you want him to succeed,
after all, he is coming from the streets without the benefit of higher
education, his father is a cab driver who spends most of his days
hanging out in a café with his buddies. To them money IS the goal.
I have owned this film on Video Tape for many years, and must watch it annually and always find something that I missed before. I liked the street scenes of Montreal in the late 40's, and the beautiful Adirondaks in summer. If you enjoyed Avalon, you would enjoy this film.
I caught this film on cable the other night and decided to keep watching since it was set in locations where I grew up. I was not disappointed. The story (a poor Jewish kid who wants to make it big) is interesting and offers many comedic highlights. Richard Dreyfuss gives a passionate performance that simply makes the film. The third act however derails, not exactly knowing where its going with its main characters. But it's good.
Critically-lauded, but gloppy-looking, abrasive coming-of-age story about a Jewish kid in 1940's Montreal who hustles his way out of the ghetto. Richard Dreyfuss snuck this in between "American Graffitti" and "Jaws", but his performance is one-note and not very appealing (the film did poor business, and when it premiered on HBO, after Dreyfuss attained success, no one knew where the picture came from). Supporting cast (Jack Warden, Randy Quaid, and Denholm Elliott among them) fair a bit better, but director Ted Kotcheff seems more interested in creating a realistically squalid atmosphere rather than concentrating on building reasonably enjoyable characters. Screenplay by Mordecai Richler, from his own novel, sets up the pieces but provides very little pay-off. *1/2 from ****
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