Bob Fosse’s 1974 film “Lenny” based on Julian Beck’s Broadway play follows Lenny Bruce from his early days as a comic working in cheap strip club dives to his final years after being busted over and over again by the police for drug and obscenity charges. His last club performances consisted of him reading court documents from his trials. His brilliance as a social satirist lost somewhere in between.
Attached here is a review I wrote a couple of years over at Halo-17 ago on this interesting if uneven film.
Here is a short scene from “Lenny.”
Here is a taste of the real Lenny!
Fabulous presentation here John! And that is really an exceptional review at Halo. I’ve always had mixed feelings about this film, but I can’y deny it does have a kind of hypnotizing power, and Hoffman is at the peak of his powers. I agree with what you say in the Halo piece about Fosse’s direction being “uneven” and it’s the kind of talky film that eventually wears out its welcome.
Thanks Sam. I remember wanting to love this film when I went to see it many years ago and Hoffman’s performance is extraordinarily good, that is until he does the comic routines. As I mention in the review, I don’t think he has the rhythm of a standup and it hurts the material and the film. Decent enough but it could have been great.