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 name of the 1935 Warner Bros. film which was based on the life of Leonard Zelig was "The Changing Man". The movie, supposedly depicting the life of Zelig, is fictitious, and was never actually made. Like the story of Zelig, it is something totally invented by Woody Allen. See more »
A presidential pardon would not clear Zelig of the state-level crimes of which he was convicted. See more »
[Leonard Zelig is apologizing on radio to all the people he misrepresented himself to]
My deepest apology goes to the Trochman family in Detroit. I...I never delivered a baby before in my life, and I... I just thought that ice tongs was the way to do it.
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A fascinating pseudo-documentary with an intriguing premise, the footage shown looks very authentic, edited well together, with apt sets and costumes. A number of original songs written especially for the film are included, and they sound exactly like the type of tunes expected in a 1930s musical. The non-original music choices also suit the project. Woody Allen superbly acts out the interesting character that he has written for himself: a very different type of insecure, neurotic person to what he usually plays. Even at less than eighty minutes, the material nevertheless wears thin by the end, but some great ideas are developed along the way. It also feels a bit odd to watch, as the film is not really a comedy, nor a drama - not fitting into any genre - then again, in general real life are not meant to be straight comedies or dramas, are they? With the limitations of the style that Allen has chosen for the film taken into account, he does a pretty good job.
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