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>
At one point, the narrator mentions that there is a photo of Leonard Zelig as Pagliacci. "Pagliacci" is the Italian plural for "clowns". The correct way to say it would be " a photo of Leonard Zelig as Pagliaccio", or "a photo of Leonard Zelig as Canio (the leading male character, who plays Pagliaccio in a play-within-the-play in the opera "Pagliacci".). 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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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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