The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Sunday, Jan. 25, 5:30 pm, TCC Roper Performing Arts Center
For his seventh “Mal’s Pick” night at the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg, veteran movie and entertainment critic Mal Vincent. has chosen a mainstream Hollywood movie with a Jewish subject.
Vincent’s selection, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, is the film that launched Richard Dreyfuss’ career. Vincent will add a personal touch to the evening with a few stories about his encounters with Dreyfus, and why he chose this film for the festival.
Made in 1974, the film earned an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay. Directed by Ted Kotcheff, the movie is about the younger son of a working- class Jewish family in Montreal, Duddy Kravitz, played by Dreyfuss, who yearns to make a name for himself. The film explores the themes of anti-Semitism and the responsibilities Duddy faces as a young adult.
Vincent knew the still largely unrecognized actor, who appeared in, but did not star in American Graffiti in 1973. Dreyfuss was also in a movie made around the same time in Oklahoma called Dillinger. Vincent, who covered a review on Dillinger, will tell a story about how he thought he was a goner when the simulated gunfire erupted on this set.
According to Vincent, it took years for Dreyfuss to shake off the abrasive persona of Duddy, but he did blossom into other starring roles, such as in The Goodbye Girl, Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Dreyfuss won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1978 for The Goodbye Girl (1977), and was nominated in 1995 for Mr. Holland’s Opus.
Even though Duddy is driven by ambition and greed, his desire to be a success is easy to understand, which makes this potentially unlikable character forgivable. Based on the novel by Mordechai Richler, it’s a classic, shot in Montreal, and a great ending to the 22nd year of the Jewish film festival.
The closing night reception at 5:30 pm, with appetizers and desserts prepared by TCC culinary arts students, precedes Vincent’s introduction of the final film of this year’s Virginia Festival of Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg.
*of blessed memory
by Leslie Shroyer