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Zelig [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Arrow Academy
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Dec. 2016
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B01LW6NJUB
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,140 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Mockumentaries are ten a penny these days, but in 1983 Zelig offered something startlingly new, as heavyweight talking heads such as Saul Bellow and Susan Sontag discuss an entirely fictional character who is nonetheless strangely convincing.

Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen) is a man so introverted and insecure that he has developed the ability to blend perfectly into the background of any given situation, regardless of the personality or even ethnicity of the people around him. But when he inadvertently becomes famous as the human chameleon after the media takes too keen an interest in his therapy sessions with Dr Eudora Fletcher (Mia Farrow), Zelig is faced with an unprecedented challenge: how do you fade into the background when the spotlight is firmly upon you?

Zelig isn t just hilarious but also an incredible technical accomplishment. Without any recourse to CGI techniques that had yet to be invented, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Gordon Willis inserts Zelig into actual 1920s and 30s footage so seamlessly that you re convinced that he s really interacting with the likes of Babe Ruth and Adolf Hitler.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Great film! Just trying to complete my Woody Allen blu ray collection! I'm replacing films I've already bought on vhs or laserdisc. Very disappointed in the poor quality of the packaging...just a disc, no insert and a poor quality case which arrived broken. Still, that makes 32 of his films I've got in blu ray..."Play it again, Sam" is the one I really want!
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By KG TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Jun. 2010
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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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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