The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Directed by Ted Kotcheff

Hosted by Director Ted Kotcheff

Credits  

Honors

Golden Bear Award, Berlin International Film Festival 1974

Film of the Year, Canadian Film Awards 1974

Director

Ted Kotcheff

Writer

Lionel Chetwynd

Cast

Richard Dreyfuss, Micheline Lanctôt, Jack Warden, Randy Quaid, Denholm Elliott

contact

Les Films Séville

Canada 1974 120 mins OV English
Genre ComedyDrama

“Funny, fantastic and often moving... an alternately sad and hilarious movie of dreams rampant”
Vincent Canby, NEW YORK TIMES

“Somehow manages to be breakneck and curiously touching at the same time... filmed on location with a great sense of life and energy”
Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“A man without land is nobody.” Those are the words that set the fire under Duddy Kravitz, the youngest son of a widowed taxi driver living off the Main in Montreal’s Plateau district. Decades after it changed the face of Canadian cinema, Ted Kotcheff’s THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ, an adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s biting and satirical novel, still packs a punch. Kotcheff shoots on location in Montreal and Sainte-Agathe, taking a documentary approach in the way he packs information and characters into every shot. We are taken into Wilensky's and Fairmount Bagels; Characters put their feet up on balconies that open onto brown courtyards, and parades stream down St. Urbain; and the white polish of the Sainte-Agathe resort feels closed off, unwelcoming. As we follow Duddy, we are treated to a wide array of larger-than-life characters, as well as history’s most ambitious bar mitzvah video, perhaps the greatest movie within a movie ever committed to celluloid.

The film has an all-star cast featuring Micheline Lanctôt, Jack Warden, Randy Quaid and, of course, Richard Dreyfuss, whose performance has an almost compulsive kinetic energy. His Duddy Kravitz cannot sit still, he’s always scratching, sweating, jumping and eager. He has a maniacal laugh, a gap-toothed smile and the baby face of a still-adolescent man. There’s something wholesome in Duddy’s roguishness, even as he commits crimes or cuts corners. As ruthless and selfish as he may seem, Duddy’s dreams extend well beyond the self, serving to fulfill a misguided familial legacy. With Ted Kotcheff’s confident direction and Dreyfuss’s iconic performance, THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ is more than a historical oddity and stands tall as one of the greatest Canadian films ever made. – Justine Smith