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Zelig [DVD]

Woody Allen , Mia Farrow , Woody Allen    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
Price: 3.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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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: PAL
  • Language: English, German
  • Subtitles: French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Aug 2002
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006BT6B
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,590 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Woody Allen comedy about a man with a strange ability to fit in almost anywhere. In America, during the years of the Depression, Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen) uses his chameleon-like powers to become a minor celebrity. He is seen watching Babe Ruth making a home run, cheering Adolph Hitler and rubbing shoulders with Roosevelt. Zelig becomes so celebrated that a psychiatrist (Mia Farrow) takes him on as a patient, and soon falls in love with him.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember when Zelig was as popular as Lindbergh? 30 July 2004
By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:VHS Tape
Before there was Forrest Gump shaking hands with John F. Kennedy there was Leonard Zelig interrupting a speech by Adolf Hitler. This 1983 faux-documentary from Woody Allen tells the tale of a strange little man who wanted so badly to fit in that he was able to change like a chameleon to blend in with his surroundings, whether that meant being a musician in a black band, a psychiatrist in a mental institution, or a member of the Nazi party. Mia Farrow co-stars as Dr. Eudora Fletcher, who not only treats Zelig with her radical psychiatric theories but eventually falls in love with the lovable loser, saving him from those who want to put him on display so people can watch Leonard turn Chinese, French or obese.
Cinematographer Gordon Willis deserves a lot of the credit for "Zelig," creatively aging his film to blend with the archive footage that has Leonard rubbing elbows with Fanny Brice, Charles Chaplin and Rudolf Hess. This "documentary" includes "contemporary" interviews with Dr. Fletcher (Ellen Garrison) and other figures in the life and times of Zelig as well as comments from critics such as Susan Sontag and Saul Bellow ("He touched people in a way that they perhaps did not want to be touched..."). I also must commend the unique narrative style provided by Patrick Horgan, who delivers the sly narration with the driest sense of humor ever recorded.
My favorite section of this film is when Zelig becomes the national craze of the moment, to be celebrated and exploited by dolls, games and puzzles, songs like "Leonard the Lizard," and even a Hollywood movie. "Zelig" is a much more subtle documentary parody than either "Take the Money and Run" or "Spinal Tap." Truth, fiction and absurdity are blended seamlessly in this film, which is that most rare creature, a "charming" Woody Allen movie that is a much more enjoyable experience than reading "Moby Dick."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Woody's greatest films 22 Jun 2010
By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Amazing technically, with a lot to say about society, conformity, and how we see ourselves.

This brilliantly made mock documentary about a 'human chameleon' in the 1920s and 30s who unconsciously changes his appearance in a desperate attempt to fit in and be liked, is hilarious and heartbreaking, often at the same time.

Some of the visual effects are still astounding by modern standards. And Allen gives a performance that is surprisingly subtle.

There are a few slow moments, and a few jokes feel self-conscious, but not enough to hurt the film in any way. This is tied with 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' and 'Hannah and her Sisters' for my 2nd favorite Allen film behind 'Annie Hall'.

One of the greatest films by one the great filmmakers of the 2nd half of the 20th century. Very worth seeking out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle satire abounds 17 Sep 2012
Format:DVD
Woody Allen has a chameleonic reputation as a film-maker, so how apt is this 1983 film which pre-empted Forrest Gump in telling the tale of an ordinary Joe who becomes part of extraordinary events almost without realising it, due in no little part to his chameleonic nature. Allen's Zelig though is not just able to blend in, he has a rare genetic condition that means he becomes just like the person he is close to, for example he is in a plane with a female pilot and suddenly develops the skill to fly upside-down across the Atlantic with no previous flying experience! My favourite scene though is where Zelig becomes part of Hitler's inner circle, and is seen at Nuremberg wildly waving to the doctor who has become his closest confidante, as Hitler rants and raves in the foreground.
A film before its time, the cinematography is amazing, and despite appearing to be quite a slight project, running at around 70 minutes altogether, this film has hidden depths, and certainly needs repeated viewings in order to get the full effect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic 26 July 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a semi documentary - style comedy from Woody Allen and i think it is definately up there with the very best. I have watched it many times and still get a load of belly laughs. Working for two sets of siamese twins with split personalities and getting paid 8 times sounds good to me. I must dash i'm taking a class in advanced masturbation and if i'm not there on time they'll start without me. Another classic.
Don't miss it you will never see anything remotely like it again
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A film like Zelig doesn't fall into any obvious category, so it's important to remember that Woody Allen is a movie category unto himself. A true American auteur, he's exercised more creative freedom sine the '60s than most film directors and this movie comes from arguably Woody's most fertile period.

I see Zelig as building upon the flawed example of Allen's first directorial feature, Take The Money & Run. TTM&R was a kind of slapstick bio-pic about a career criminal, told through docu-style reportage with narration by an authority figure, interviews and hilarious dramatizations from the life of Allen's hopeless bank robber. It shows its age now, not least in the underwritten part for the girl playing Virgil's wife. With Zelig, again, there is a kind of emotional distance, but the overall concept is far more ambitious and thoughtful. The jokes are now used more sparingly, but are always wickedly funny when they arrive.

For anyone who mistakenly believes Allen works to a formula, where neurotic people gab on about their selfish problems against a New York backdrop - you need to see this and start rethinking your position. Zelig's metamorphoses are ingeniously handled - I really like it when he pops up on the balcony with the Pope and they start assaulting him. Mia Farrow is luminous as Zelig's psychologist. This film is a treasure trove of '30s archive footage and I can't think of another film of the period (1983) with which to compare it. Maybe that's the problem for some people.

Zelig is the movie equivalent of one of Woody Allen's loony short stories. The moral is, even if all you want is to blend in, you can't give up being yourself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime: slow to reveal its charms, but clever & very funny
Whilst Allen has made many films with more immediate appeal, from the simple early laughs of Take The Money And Run or Love And Death to the maturer but very easy to enjoy Annie... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sebastian Palmer
3.0 out of 5 stars Zelig
This is very funny in parts, but basically one idea stretched a little thin. Best bits are the metamorphosis sequences.
Published 4 months ago by s p martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely film
What a greatly imaginative, funny and historical film including some sharp gagst and great special effects with Woody Allen at his best.
Published 6 months ago by declarationball
4.0 out of 5 stars A good but not great Woody Allen film
I enjoyed this movie but would not say it is as good as either Annie Hall or Manhattan. For me, Allen's movies with Diane Keaton are superior to most of his movies with Mia... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr B K Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this W H ?
Look out for Zelig in every scene.
Seen him ?
Play this game with your self throughout.
Its is a magical thing to see Zelig in situations
most of us remember... Read more
Published 8 months ago by flibity
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, unusual and enjoyable.
This is one of those films I will need to watch again to decide
on star ratings, but I look forward to doing so.
Published 14 months ago by Princess
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody at his best.
One of my favourite Woody Allen Films. Some brilliant special effects, and a magnificently re-created "period" score by Dick Hyman.
Published 16 months ago by Tough Chops
4.0 out of 5 stars Allen's Inventive Yarn
Woody Allen's 1983 film Zelig is a clever and beautifully constructed 'documentary' on fictional character, 'chameleon man' Leonard Zelig (played by Allen), and shot in black and... Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2012 by Keith M
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT HIS BEST BUT STILL GREAT
This is one of Woodys lesser known films which is a shame as it is very good. OK it's not his best but it's in my view in his top ten. Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2011 by Stephen
4.0 out of 5 stars Little known gem from Woody
This is a great little black & white film from Woody Allen. Like 'Take the money and run', his first feature film from the late 60s, its a fake documentary. Read more
Published on 15 Jan 2011 by S J Buck
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