IMDb > Lenny Bruce Without Tears (1972)

Lenny Bruce Without Tears (1972) More at IMDbPro »

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Documentary on the life and death of Lenny Bruce. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Fred Baker, 1933 - 2011
 (From MUBI. 12 June 2011, 12:59 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Far from comprehensive, but a good introduction to the genius of Lenny Bruce See more (6 total) »


  (in credits order)
Lenny Bruce ... Himself / Various (archive footage)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Steve Allen ... 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)

Mort Sahl ... Himself (archive footage)
Jean Shepherd ... Himself (archive footage) (as Jean Shepard)
Kenneth Tynan ... Himself (archive footage)

Lyndon Johnson ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Fred Baker 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Barbara Baker 
Fred Baker 
John Parson  narration (as John Parsons)

Produced by
Barbara Baker .... producer
Fred Baker .... producer
Original Music by
Fred Baker (uncredited)
Tom Finn (uncredited)
Gigi Gryce (uncredited)
Film Editing by
Edward Deitch  (as Edward Deutsch)
Other crew
Barbara Baker .... associate director
Barbara Baker .... researcher
Fred Baker .... researcher
John Parson .... narration writer (as John Parsons)
Steve Allen .... acknowledgment
Martin Garbus .... acknowledgment (as Martin Garbus Esq.)
William Glenesk .... acknowledgment (as Rev. William Glenesk)
Nat Hentoff .... acknowledgment
Paul Krassner .... acknowledgment
John Magnuson .... acknowledgment
Malcolm Muggeridge .... acknowledgment
Mort Sahl .... acknowledgment
Jean Shepherd .... acknowledgment (as Jean Shepard)
Kenneth Tynan .... acknowledgment

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

85 min
Sound Mix:
UK:X | UK:15 (video) (2006)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Far from comprehensive, but a good introduction to the genius of Lenny Bruce, 27 May 2007
Author: TrevorAclea from London, England

Getting a video copy of Lenny Bruce Without Tears was a big deal in my youth – not only were retail videos in their infancy but aside from The Lenny Bruce Performance Film (which showcases Bruce at his doped-up self-indulgent worst), there really was no other way of seeing any footage of the man himself. Even in this 72-minute documentary it's at a premium, although it does feature some of his best routines, including his two appearances on the Steve Allen Show, an extract from his busted TV pilot and a horrifyingly depressing interview shortly before his death with Nat Hentoff when he's clearly stoned out of his skull, slurring his speech and generally acting like a truly pathetic burnt-out junkie that's just incredibly painful to watch and which leads all too naturally into footage of his dead body being photographed by the police.

Mostly the real gold is the audio extracts from his bits when his mind was still sharp, accompanied by snippets of stock footage from old movies and TV shows of varying relevance. Unfortunately, the film hasn't aged that well and leaves a lot of gaps, but it's still a good primer and does offer brief interviews with friends and supporters (Mort Sahl, Nat Hentoff, Kenneth Tynan, Malcolm Muggeridge), opponents (Jean Shepherd), his last lawyer and even the D.A. who prosecuted him, who admits he was too tied up in getting a result to see how pointless and unnecessary the case really was at the time.

While the Region 1 DVD is horribly out of synch throughout, thankfully the UK DVD release (which also includes The Lenny Bruce Performance Film, the cartoon Thank You Masked Man based on his irreverent Lone Ranger routine and a 46-minute BBC radio documentary) has no such problems.

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