Seven segments related to one another only in that they all purport to be based on sections of the book by David Reuben. The segments range from "Do Aphrodisiacs Work?" in which a court ... See full summary »
Fictional documentary about the life of human chameleon Leonard Zelig, a man who becomes a celebrity in the 1920s due to his ability to look and act like whoever is around him. Clever editing places Zelig in real newsreel footage of Woodrow Wilson, Babe Ruth, and others. Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
Like the ever-changing chameleon Zelig character, the film had an ever-changing title. The movie's working titles were "The Changing Man", "The Cat's Pajamas", "The Chameleon Man" and "Identity Crisis and Its Relationship to Personality Disorder" before finally the film was called "Zelig". "The Changing Man" title was still used for the picture as it became the name of a fictional film within this film. See more »
A presidential pardon would not clear Zelig of the state-level crimes of which he was convicted. See more »
But I've never flown before in my life, and it shows exactly what you can do, if you're a total psychotic!
See more »
Leapin' lizards! This film is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
"Zelig" was a revelation in 1983, an utterly ingenious faux-documentary, without any precedent, at least not on this scale. Hilarious then, it still is today. That quick glimpse you get of the all-Hasidic production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is priceless. It gives renewed meaning to "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
Allen's technique is extraordinary. "Zelig" has the best bogus documentary footage quite probably since "Citizen Kane".
As the film urges, everyone should "Do the Chameleon", by seeing "Zelig". Woody Allen creates a trenchant comment on people's desire for conformity: "Everybody, go chameleon." We all tend to do that to some degree, but it's not usually so amusing. Try to blend in with the crowd rushing out to find "Zelig" on video.
It is probably worth noting that a Jewish Nazi is not as ridiculous a stretch as Woody makes it seem. Reinhard Heydrich, the vicious organizer of the Final Solution, fell into that category. The top Nazis were all misfits in one way or another.
58 of 73 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?