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>
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 »
Who was this Leonard Zelig that seemed to create such diverse impressions everywhere? All that was known of him was that he was the son of a Yiddish actor named Morris Zelig, whose performance as Puck in the Orthodox version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was coolly received. The Elder Zelig's second marriage is marked by constant violent quarreling. So much so that although the family lives over a bowling alley, it is the bowling alley that complains of noise. As a boy, Leonard is frequently ...
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I have to say that even though Zelig is less than 80 minutes, I was deeply saddened by it being over. I actually wanted more of it. Woody Allen is brilliant as Leonard Zelig, a human chameleon, who can transform to other races, religions, and ethnicities. Anyway, Woody Allen does it subtly and brilliantly without going over the top. Woody Allen is a genius with his neurosis. In this film, it's a love story before doctors getting intimate with patients had become a frowned upon today. Zelig came alive in the 1920s and 1930s. His character always seems to be looking for a place to fit in society. Woody Allen's brilliance is really about examining his life in film especially his relationships. The psychiatrist is played by Mia Farrow who was involved with Woody Allen at the time. The cast is usually New York actors like Deborah Rush. But I enjoyed seeing Susan Sontag in this documentary spoof. Zelig is perhaps one of the best spoof documentaries of all time. When it's over, you just want more.
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