Lenny (Bob Fosse, 1974)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Lenny.

criterion logoBob Fosse’s first non-musical film confirmed his cinematic talents, creating a grim biopic of controversial stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce that is both heavily romanticized and harshly unsentimental.  Dustin Hoffman stars in this relentless depiction of Bruce’s battle with the Establishment authorities that condemned his stage act as obscene and the comedian’s downward spiral from countercultural vanguard to junkie burnout.  Supported by a Cannes-winning performance by Valerie Perrine as Bruce’s stripper wife, Bruce Surtees’ rich black and white cinematography, and Julian Barry’s adaptation of his own Broadway play, Fosse’s Lenny was a commercial and critical success that garnered six Academy Award nominations and eulogized the career of one of America’s great champions of free speech.

Disc Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Scene-specific audio commentary featuring editor Alan Heim and Lenny Bruce’s daughter, Kitty Bruce
  • New interviews with Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Stanley Beck, Alan Heim, and Fosse biographer Sam Wasson
  • Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth, Robert B. Weide’s 1998 documentary featuring narration by Robert De Niro
  • Video appreciation by comedian Marc Maron
  • New interview with Stand-Up! record label owner Dan Schlissel and lawyer Bart Torvi on Bruce legacy in comedy and obscenity law
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by filmmaker Damon Maulucci and Dick Schaap’s tribute to Bruce for Playboy Magazine.

Continue reading