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>
Famous people seen in the film by way of archive footage include (in alphabetical order) Max Amann, Josephine Baker, Clara Bow, Fanny Brice, Wilhelm Brückner, James Cagney, Al Capone, Charlie Chaplin, Calvin Coolidge, Marion Davies, Sepp Dietrich, Joe DiMaggio, Marie Dressler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lou Gehrig, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Harold 'Red' Grange, William Randolph Hearst, Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler, Bobby Jones, Robert Ley, Charles Lindbergh, Carole Lombard, Adolphe Menjou, Tom Mix, Pope Pius XI, Dolores del Río, Billy Rose, Babe Ruth, Julius Schaub, Gregor Strasser, Julius Streicher, Franz von Epp, Franz Pfeffer von Salomon, Jimmy Walker, and Claire Windsor. See more »
A presidential pardon would not clear Zelig of the state-level crimes of which he was convicted. See more »
And to the, to the gentleman who's appendix I took out, I...I'm, I don't know what to say, if it's any consolation I... I may still have it somewhere around the house.
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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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