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Little known actor, Jack Noah, is working on location in the dictatorship of Parador at the time the dictator dies. The dictator's right hand man, Roberto, makes Jack an offer he cannot refuse.. to play the dictator. Jack's acting skills fool the masses but not close friends and employees of the dictator. Written by
According to Mazursky's autobiography, Judith Malina was originally cast as the dictator's mother. But there was a mixup, Malina was unavailable, and the production only had the Rio opera house available for three days. They tried in vain for Zoe Caldwell, and considered a few Brazilian actresses. Mazursky ended up playing the part himself, in drag. See more »
Under-rated film that doesn't take itself seriously
Paul Mazursky's film is under-rated in my opinion; maybe because the film never takes itself seriously.
The Dictator of a South American state dies suddenly. An American actor, Jack Noah, played by Richard Dreyfuss, happens to be there and is forced to pretend to be the Dictator until the henchmen can arrange a political transition. This all emerges early on and I thought the rest of the film was going to be pretty obvious and repetitive. But in fact some quite clever issues are brought out, as Noah begins to enjoy his role and tries to bring in social reforms.
Aides working closely with the Dictator notice the substitution, of course, but decide to keep quiet for the sake of self-preservation. The director of the film himself appears as the Dictator's dragon-like mother
The film never attempts to draw out the serious issues in any depth, but I think it manages to be an intelligent thriller and a fun comedy at the same time.
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