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Zelig


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Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Patrick Horgan, John Buckwalter, Marvin Chatinover
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Charles H. Joffe, Jack Rollins, Michael Peyser, Robert Greenhut
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: MGM Canada
  • Release Date: Jan. 31 2006
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005O06N
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,896 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

The thinking person's Forrest Gump, Woody Allen's 1983 Zelig is a funny, atmospheric mock-documentary about the collision of one man's manifest neuroses colliding with key moments in 20th-century history. Allen plays the title character, a self-effacing, timorous fellow with such a porous personality that he physically becomes a reflection of whoever he is with. Complex and painstaking, the film's pre-Gump special effects manage to place Allen, buried under a series of makeup and prosthetic guises, in a number of scenes along with Adolf Hitler at a Nazi rally, a pope at the Vatican, and famous guests at a garden party hosted by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Similar in tone and satire to some of Allen's short, comic pieces published in The New Yorker magazine, Zelig is a one-note movie that takes its delicious time establishing the fullness of its central joke. It's well worth the wait. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "sloan123" on March 7 2003
Format: DVD
"Zelig" is quite probably the most experimental of all of Woody Allen's movies. It a mockumentary about Leonard Zelig, a man whose features could change to look like whomever he is with at the time. It's a skilled comedy, with some impressive special effects scene (Woody Allen clowning around with Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth), along with some interesting stock footage, film parodies, and bizarre musical numbers. While the middle section of the film (focusing on Zelig's therapy) sags a bit, the rest of the film more than makes up for it.
Being a Woody Allen film, there are very few frills on this, other than a booklet and a trailer (which shows quite well how unmarketable the movie was - hence the box office failure). The picture and sound are supposed to be rather scratchy, so there is very little that the DVD can do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Man in the Hathaway Shirt on July 18 2004
Format: DVD
Some critics said it was too long, and the joke ran thin. To me that describes Forrest Gump. Some critics thought it was a no-concept movie. To me that describes Forrest Gump. To me this is Woody as a virtuoso filmmaker, though not the sort that Tarentino is pegged. The film makes a very true point about fame, about nostalgia, and most of all about conformity in a world that's always proud to show off its nonconformity (note the opening montage about how this was "the jazz age") but which is at bottom hopelessly conformist. Forrest Gump, with its aw-shucks philosophy and cliche-embedded script, didn't dare tackle such weighty issues. But this movie does. But if you don't GET them, as many critics didn't judging from the reviews, this film will to you seem too long. My biggest complaint is that maybe it's actually too short. I would have liked to see some of its themes explored more--admittedly tricky in the narrow confines Allen imposed on himself with his documentary structure.
Here Allen runs the range of tricks to film, but they're not computer tricks (exactly). To age his film he actually scuffs it. To achieve the sound of tinny 1920s sound he records his pop songs (wonderful parodies of the real music of the time) on authentic 1920s equipment. Most of all, in sort of a post-modernist irony that is currently so hip but was fresh in 1983, he features interviews with trendy intellectuals who both reinforce and parody their academic personas by appearing on camera.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Avila on July 5 2004
Format: DVD
1983's "Zelig" was written and directed by Woody Allen. This is of course years after 1977's Annie Hall and so Woody Allen's comic talent was already established. Woody Allen's witty, intellectual humor is most prominent in this film which he directs as if it were a documentary. It's entirely in black and white, except for the contemporary scenes of interviewed characters, there is footage from the 20's, 30's and 40's, including footage of Adolph Hitler making a speech at a Nazi rally. Woody Allen plays Leonard Zelig, a shy, unassuming little man with an identity disorder. He cannot truly be himself because he becomes transformed into his surroundings. When he is around Jewish rabbis, he becomes Jewish, when he is around African-Americans, he becomes black, when he is around overweight people, he becomes fat, etc. This miracle of biology earned him the title of the Chameleon or "The Changing Man". Mia Farrow, who coincidentally was romantically linked with Woody Allen at this time in the 80's, plays the role of Zelig's love interest Dr. Eudora Fletcher. Eudora Fletcher takes a genuine interest in Zelig and examines him psychologically through hypnosis. The scenes of their sessions are extremely funny but then again so is much of this movie. Woody Allen is the first Forrest Gump, being as funny and awkward, at least 10 years before Tom Hanks did it in the 90's. Zelig is so loved that he is hob-nobbing with all the greats of the time- Charlie Chaplin, William Randalph Hearst, Fanny Brice, F. Scott Fitzegerald and Zelda, etc. The music for this movie is appropriately cartoonish and Charleston/Jazz Age style. There is one dance segment called The Chameleon and another with the voice of Betty Boop singing "Chameleon Days". Witty dialogue, lots of humor and visual jokes, it's a movie that is sure to delight you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Mathena on April 26 2004
Format: DVD
Just before giving us the campy "Purple Rose of Cairo", Woody Allen created "Zelig", another very unique film. The title character is a man who, like a Chameleon, changes his physical appearance to blend in with whomever he is sharing present company. When getting acquainted with an obese man, Zelig suddenly develops a pot-belly; among Asians, Zelig chages appearance to resemble the people near him; no matter how different the person in Zelig's company, he changes to adapt.
Mia Farrow plays a psychiatrist (an unusual occupation for a woman in the 1920s & 30s) determined to figure this case out. The predictable romantic involvement ensuing adds to the confusion. The film is enveloped in countless news real exerpts and newspaper headlines. The elaborate "joke" may have been even more effective if kept to a shorter format. A 30 minute short is not always improved by an 80 minute feature film.
The Woody Allen character is depicted as not only a curiosity or a freak of nature, but as someone incapable of funtioning independently. A human chameleon may be a curiosity, but it does not render an intelligent person as helpless and in need of guarded confinement. Although offering many chuckles and even big laughs, the idea of caging someone who is different, treating him like an "E.T." or "Elephant Man". Our society has not fully evolved to accept such differences. I'm not certain if this film is an argument for or against acceptance of human curiosities. Although the special effects, mainly authentic "aged film footage" and period music are outstanding, the story line is somewhat disturbing.****
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