|The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ted Kotcheff|
|Produced by||John Kemeny|
|Screenplay by||Mordecai Richler|
|Story by||Lionel Chetwynd (Adaptation)|
|Based on|| The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz |
by Mordecai Richler
|Starring|| Richard Dreyfuss |
|Music by|| Stanley Myers |
|Edited by||Thom Noble|
|Distributed by||Astral Films|
|April 11, 1974|
|Box office||$1.7 million (US/Canada rentals)|
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is a 1974 Canadian comedy-drama film directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring Richard Dreyfuss. It is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Mordecai Richler.
Duddy Kravitz (Richard Dreyfuss) is a brash, restless young Jewish man growing up poor in Montreal. His cab driver father Max (Jack Warden) and his rich uncle Benjy (Joseph Wiseman) are very proud of Duddy's older brother Lenny, whom Benjy is putting through medical school. Only his grandfather (Zvee Scooler) shows the motherless Duddy any attention.
Duddy gets a summer job as a waiter at a kosher resort hotel in the Laurentian Mountains. His hustle, energy, and coarse manners irritate condescending college student and fellow waiter Irwin. Irwin gets his girlfriend Linda, the daughter of the hotel's owner, to persuade Duddy to stage a clandestine roulette game. Unbeknownst to Duddy, the roulette wheel is crooked, and he loses his entire $300 earnings to Irwin and some hotel guests. The other waiters find out and make Irwin give back the money. Unaware of this, the hotel guests, led by Farber, feel bad and give him a further $500.
Duddy starts a romantic relationship with another hotel employee, French-Canadian Yvette (Micheline Lanctôt). One day, Yvette takes him on a picnic beside a lake. Duddy is stunned by the beauty of the setting, and his ambition crystallizes: taking to heart his grandfather's maxim that "a man without land is nobody", he decides he will buy all the property around the lake and develop it. Because Duddy is under 21, then the age of majority in Canada, and the current owners might not want to sell to a Jew, he gets Yvette to front for him.
Duddy sets out to raise the money he needs. He hires blacklisted alcoholic film director Friar (Denholm Elliott) to film weddings and bar mitzvahs. His first customer is Farber, who drives a hard bargain. If he does not like the result, he will not pay. Despite Friar's artistic pretensions, the film is a success, and more orders are quickly forthcoming.
However, when a piece of land comes up for sale, Duddy does not have enough money. He begs his father to get him an appointment with his friend Dingleman, "the Boy Wonder", a rich, successful businessman-cum-gangster who had equally humble beginnings. Dingleman turns down his request for a loan but later invites him to discuss his scheme on a train to New York. It turns out that Dingleman just wants a drug mule to unknowingly take the risk of smuggling heroin.
On the train, Duddy meets good-natured Virgil (Randy Quaid) and offers to buy his pinball machines, which are illegal in the United States. When Virgil shows up, Duddy does not have enough money to pay him, so Duddy hires Virgil as a truck driver, even though he has epilepsy. Tragedy strikes when Virgil has a seizure while driving and crashes; he is left paralyzed from the waist down. Duddy is distraught and guilt-ridden. Blaming Duddy, Yvette leaves him to care for Virgil.
Duddy becomes alarmed when Dingleman finds out about his lake. When the last piece of property Duddy needs comes on the market, Dingleman bids for it. Desperate, Duddy forges Virgil's signature on a cheque to buy the land, leading to a final rupture with Yvette and Virgil.
Undeterred, Duddy proudly takes Max, Lenny, and his grandfather to see his property. When Dingleman shows up to offer to raise the financing for its development, Duddy mocks him. Duddy's grandfather, however, refuses to pick out a plot for his farm, as Yvette told him what Duddy did to get it. Duddy tries but fails to reconcile with Yvette, and she tells him that she never wants to see him again. The final scene shows Duddy having risen far enough in society to run a tab at the local diner, and his father boasting about how his son made it.
The film was actually Kotcheff's second adaptation of Richler's 1959 novel. In 1961, he had directed a television play for ITV's Armchair Theatre based on Kravitz, with Hugh Futcher in the title role.[ citation needed ]
American producer Samuel Z. Arkoff was approached to make the film, but wanted to turn Duddy into a Greek character.
Few Canadians were cast in major roles for box-office and artistic reasons.
The film was the most commercially successful English-language Canadian film ever made at the time of its release with a gross of $2.3 million in Canada.Including the U.S., the film earned theatrical rentals of $1.7 million.
Duddy Kravitz has an important place in Canadian film history due to its record gross, and has thus been described as a 'coming of age' for Canadian cinema.The film has been designated and preserved as a "masterwork" by the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada, a charitable non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the preservation of Canada’s audio-visual heritage. The Toronto International Film Festival ranked it in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time twice, in 1984 and 1993.
In the period between shooting Duddy Kravitz and actually seeing the completed movie, Richard Dreyfuss was offered, and turned down, the role of Matt Hooper in Jaws ; [ citation needed ]having read the script he decided that it was a film he would "rather watch than be in". After he had seen the final cut of Kravitz, however, Dreyfuss felt his performance was so bad that it could potentially end his movie career. Discovering that the role of Hooper had still not been cast, he jumped at it to ensure that he was safely under contract to make another movie before anybody at Universal Pictures heard any negative press about Kravitz.
It was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1984 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was adapted into a musical. A 1987 adaptation was directed by Austin Pendleton and premiered in Philadelphia. A newly updated version of the musical had its debut in Montreal in 2015 with music by Alan Menken, book and lyrics by David Spencer, and directed by Pendleton.
Mordecai Richler was a Canadian writer. His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959) and Barney's Version (1997). His 1970 novel St. Urbain's Horseman and 1989 novel Solomon Gursky Was Here were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He is also well known for the Jacob Two-Two children's fantasy series. In addition to his fiction, Richler wrote numerous essays about the Jewish community in Canada, and about Canadian and Quebec nationalism. Richler's Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! (1992), a collection of essays about nationalism and anti-Semitism, generated considerable controversy.
Richard Stephen Dreyfuss is an American actor best known for starring in popular films between the 1970s and 1990s, including American Graffiti, Jaws, Stand by Me, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, The Goodbye Girl, Tin Men, Stakeout, Always, What About Bob?, and Mr. Holland's Opus.
Schnorrer is a Yiddish term meaning "beggar" or "sponger". The word Schnorrer originally occurred in the German language to describe a freeloader who frequently asks for little things, like cigarettes or little sums of money, without offering a return.
Joseph Wiseman was a Canadian American theatre and film actor, well known for starring as the villain Julius No in the first James Bond film, Dr. No in 1962. Wiseman was also known for his role as Manny Weisbord on the TV series Crime Story, and his career on Broadway. He was once called "the spookiest actor in the American theatre."
William Theodore Kotcheff is a Canadian film and television director and producer, known primarily for his work on British and American television productions such as Armchair Theatre and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He has also directed numerous successful films including the Australian Wake in Fright (1971), action films such as the original Rambo movie First Blood (1982) and Uncommon Valor (1983), and comedies like Weekend at Bernie's (1989), Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), and North Dallas Forty (1979). He is sometimes credited as William T. Kotcheff, and resides in Beverly Hills, California. Given his ancestry, Kotcheff has Bulgarian citizenship.
Lionel Chetwynd is a screenwriter, director and producer from England. He holds British, Canadian and American citizenship.
Barney's Version is a novel written by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, published by Knopf Canada in 1997.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is the fourth novel by Canadian author Mordecai Richler. It was first published in 1959 by André Deutsch, then adapted to the screen in 1974.
Joshua Then and Now is a 1985 Canadian film and a TV mini-series, adapted by Mordecai Richler from his semi-autobiographical novel Joshua Then and Now. James Woods starred as the adult Joshua, Gabrielle Lazure as his wife, and Alan Arkin as Joshua's father. It was directed by Ted Kotcheff who had previously directed Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
Joshua Then and Now is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Mordecai Richler, first published in 1980 by McClelland and Stewart. Richler adapted it into the feature film Joshua Then and Now, starring James Woods, Alan Arkin, and Gabrielle Lazure; directed by Ted Kotcheff who had previously directed Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts is a town in the province of Quebec, Canada, in the regional county municipality of Les Laurentides in the administrative region of Laurentides, also known as the "Laurentians" or the Laurentian Mountains. Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts borders on a lake called Lac des Sables, and is located approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Montreal.
Baron Byng High School was an English-language public high school on Saint Urbain Street in Montreal, Quebec, opened by Governor General of Canada Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy in 1921. The school was attended largely by working-class Jewish Montrealers from its establishment until the 1960s. Baron Byng High School's alumni include many accomplished academics, artists, businesspeople and politicians.
Wake in Fright is a 1971 psychological thriller film directed by Canadian filmmaker Ted Kotcheff, written by Evan Jones, and starring Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay and Jack Thompson. Based on Kenneth Cook's 1961 novel of the same name, the film follows a young schoolteacher who descends into personal moral degradation after finding himself stranded in a brutal, menacing town in outback Australia.
Samuel (Sam) Gesser, was a Canadian impresario, record producer and writer.
Wilensky's Light Lunch, styled in its exterior signage as simply Wilensky to conform to one interpretation of Bill 101, is a lunch counter located at 34 Fairmount Avenue West in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Opened in 1932 by Moe Wilensky, the restaurant was immortalized in Mordecai Richler's novel, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Scenes in the film version of the book were shot in the restaurant.
St. Urbain's Horseman is the seventh novel by Canadian author Mordecai Richler. It was first published in 1971 by McClelland & Stewart. It is one of Richler's most ambitious novels and won the prestigious Governor General's Award for 1971.
Duddy may refer to:
John Kemeny was a Hungarian-born Canadian film producer whom the Toronto Star dubbed "the forgotten giant of Canadian film history." His production credits included the well-known 1974 film, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, which starred Richard Dreyfuss, directed by Ted Kotcheff, based on a novel by Mordecai Richler. Kemeny also produced the 1980 romantic comedy, Atlantic City, starring Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon.
Montreal's Jewish community is one of the oldest and most populous in the country, formerly first but now second to Toronto and numbering about 100,000 according to the 2001 census. The community is quite diverse, and is composed of many different Jewish ethnic divisions that arrived in Canada at different periods of time and under differing circumstances.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is a musical written by David Spencer and Disney composer Alan Menken. The play is based on Canadian author Mordecai Richler's 1959 novel of the same name. The musical is a "morality tale" set in 1950s' Montreal, Canada, about 19-year-old Duddy Kravitz, from the Jewish working-class inner city, who is desperate to make his mark and prove himself to his family and community. After his grandfather tells him that "a man without land is nobody," he works and schemes to buy and develop a lakefront property, but his ambition threatens his personal relationships with those who love him, among them a French Canadian girl he meets while working at a summer resort. Duddy often behaves as a "nervy young hustler" but is at the same time fiercely loyal to those whom he loves. He must "ultimately decide what kind of man he's going to be." The story ended on a bleak note with Duddy isolated and morally compromised, having accomplished his goals only by betraying close friends, including his epileptic and paraplegic friend Virgil, and becoming estranged from his grandfather.