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>
At the time Woody Allen's friend Dick Cavett was hosting a series of Time-Life historical specials for HBO in which a process was used to insert Cavett into archival footage. The process so intrigued Allen it became the impetus for making this film. 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 »
He was the guy who smashed my car up. It was brand new. Then he backed-up over my mother's wrist. She's elderly... and uses her wrist a lot.
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ZELIG is simply a jaw-dropping sight and sound as a film; hilarious.... out loud. The funny premise is polished to some astonishing level of trickery with editing and matte effects seamlessly blending real 20s with recreated 20s adding Allen and Farrow and dialog and interviews that will have you recalling and roaring with laughter for days. I had not seen it since 1983 and now in 2008 to be reminded how stunning and hilarious this creation is, well, I am just delighted to be back on the wavelength of this genuinely brilliant hoax documentary. Now I can see how FORREST GUMP came about, given that it is a similar 'historic' premise using real footage of events and eras mixed with the lead character. But ZELIG is another perfection altogether; if you know your 20s, silent films, the imagery, the early sound newsreels and all those silly songs, then ZELIG is a superlative treat. It even features Mae Questrel singing a new Betty Boop song and for that alone I cheer this almost perfect film. What a delight. If you also get to see the early Peter Jackson hoax documentary FORGOTTEN SILVER or Stanley Donen's MOVIE MOVIE you will be equally rewarded.
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