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Interview-style biography of controversial and pioneering stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce. The film traces Bruce from his beginnings as a Catskills comic to his later underground popularity based on his anti-establishment politics and his scatological humor. Written by
Scott Renshaw <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cliff Gorman, who'd won the 1972 Tony Award for his portrayal of Bruce on Broadway, was considered for the film adaptation but wasn't deemed as bankable an actor as Hoffman. Years later, Gorman would play a Lenny Bruce type of character in All That Jazz (1979), also directed by Bob Fosse. See more »
During the movie's opening monologue, Lenny says that it's 1964 and then references the MDA Telethon, which debuted in 1966. See more »
The life of late stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce (played by Oscar-nominee Dustin Hoffman) is the focus of "Lenny", a dark and disturbing staircase of horrors from director Bob Fosse (Oscar-nominated). In the late-1950s and early-1960s the titled character defied convention by getting in front of nightclub crowds and saying anything and everything that was on his mind. He cursed profusely, talked about the U.S. government, made fun of taboo subjects (homosexuality, drug use, etc.) and basically upset every group and racial minority you can think of. Through the film Hoffman has strange views on every topic that dominated the time period and marries a club stripper (Valerie Perrine in her Oscar-nominated role) that has an intense drug abuse problem herself. The film is told in stunning flashbacks that are displayed in a documentary style by those who knew the comedian best (Lenny Bruce apparently overdosed on drugs intentionally to kill himself). Filmed entirely in black-and-white, "Lenny" is a terrifying story about how freedom is not always an option in certain circles. The film is full of intense sexual situations, drug abuse and constant adult language. Younger audiences have no business viewing this production, but all those of a mature age should give "Lenny" a try. The film stands very strong with the other big films of 1974 ("The Godfather, Part II" and "Chinatown" most notably). 5 stars out of 5.
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