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Lenny Bruce Without Tears (1972)

Documentary on the life and death of Lenny Bruce.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Lenny Bruce ...
Himself / Various (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Himself / DJ (archive footage)
Fred Baker ...
Narrator
Martin Garbus ...
Himself (archive footage)
William Glenesk ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Rev. William Glenesk)
Nat Hentoff ...
Himself (archive footage)
Frank Hogan ...
Himself (archive footage)
Paul Krassner ...
Himself (archive footage)
Malcolm Muggeridge ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Jean Shepherd ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Jean Shepard)
Kenneth Tynan ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

This documentary tells the story of the rise and fall of Lenny Bruce (1925-1966), hip comedian and bête noire to the establishment. The film makes the case that Bruce was impoverished and broken by a series of unjust arrests and prosecutions in the 1960s. Clips of Bruce performances, "bits" as he calls them, dominate the film, from Steve Allen's TV show to night-club appearances late in life when he would mine his arrests for material. Malcolm Muggeridge calls Bruce a moralist. A former assistant district attorney from New York in effect apologizes for his part in persecuting Bruce. The bounce and snap of Bruce in the 50s transform into ironic social commentary. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Release Date:

5 July 1972 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Connections

Features The Pink Panther (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

All Alone
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Lenny Bruce
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User Reviews

 
Moving
2 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

This film - obviously made on a shoestring budget - is artful and touching. It starts rather slowly - Bruce's appearance on the Steve Allen Show is noteworthy in that what was cutting-edge back then is now rather stale. But the material too controversial for broadcast - and which here we have only in audio - like, for instance, his bit on reuniting with his wife, is as fresh and funny and honest as Richard Pryor at his best.

Watch Nat Hentoff puff nervously on his cigarette as he interviews a sadly broken Bruce near the end of Bruce's life. Do a slow burn while you watch the police descend on Bruce's house after the overdose that killed him. That's Bruce's body there on the bathroom floor - the authorities, guardians of morality when arresting Bruce innumerable times, allowed his death scene to be filmed. And be angry at fate. If Lenny had been born five, ten, years later ... well, rent this video and decide for yourself.


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