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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Around the time the movie was made and released, lead actors Woody Allen and Mia Farrow were in a personal relationship, which had started around 1980. See more »
The speaking person in his 60s in one of the modern interviews in the film is subtitled as "Former SS-Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl". If the interviews were conducted in the early 1980s, the person is evidently too young; the real Pohl was born in June 1892, so he would have been in his late 80s/early 90s at the time - of course if he had not been hanged for war crimes in 1951. See more »
The question of whether Zelig was a psychotic or merely neurotic was a question that was endlessly discussed among his doctors. Now I myself felt his feelings were really not all that different from the normal, what one would call the well-adjusted, normal person, only carried to an extreme degree, to an extreme extent. I myself felt that one could really think of him as the ultimate conformist.
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"Zelig" is a very clever movie, the kind you just know Woody Allen is capable of. In this "mockumentary," Woody plays Leonard Zelig, an insecure man who goes to the ultimate length to fit in. Mia Farrow offers the love interest as Dr. Eudora Fletcher. In "Zelig," we get to see Woody spliced into old footage, including the Nazi rally. This came before the effect became used more often, in movies like "Forrest Gump." I see this as a transition in Woody's movies. It comes somewhere between his early funnier movies, like "Bananas" and "Take the Money and Run," and his later, more introspective ones, like "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Husbands and Wives." It makes a statement about individuality, and produces laughs in the process.
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