(out of 5)

Bob Fosse’s third film and first non-musical is a fascinating, unflinching look at the life and career of controversial comedian Lenny Bruce.   is effective in the lead, a foul-mouthed orator whose frank discussions of social issues, peppered with colourful four-letter words, gets him in constant trouble with the law.  Bruce broke down barriers for future generations and redefined stand-up comedy as we know it, which is given ample tribute in the film, though there was also a gritty, reckless quality to the comedian that Hoffman can’t nail (he has his shit together in a way that Bruce didn’t, and which he used as part of his appeal).   is even more compelling as Bruce’s wife, a former stripper whose relationship with him forms the film’s emotional content. Filmed with documentary-like precision in black-and-white, the film is startling for how impressively entertaining it is and for how real it all feels.

USA, 1974

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on his play

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by Joel Schiller

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1974

Cannes Film Festival 1975

Golden Globe Awards 1974

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