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Lenny [VHS] (1974)

Dustin Hoffman , Valerie Perrine , Bob Fosse  |  R |  VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Jan Miner, Stanley Beck, Frankie Man
  • Directors: Bob Fosse
  • Writers: Julian Barry
  • Producers: David V. Picker, Marvin Worth, Robert Greenhut
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: October 17, 1990
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301972953
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,193 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Based loosely on the Broadway play, this film biography of late comedian Lenny Bruce captures his fiery brand of provocative humor while looking at his less-than-savory personal life. Dustin Hoffman earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Bruce, a seminal figure in stand-up comedy who broke boundaries of language and subject matter by questioning hypocrisy and telling it hilariously like he saw it. Director Bob Fosse, working with cinematographer Bruce Surtees, used black-and-white to capture the shadowy nightclub world in which Bruce rose and fell, bleakly depicting the eventual loss of his livelihood when he became a victim of governmental obscenity prosecution. Hoffman is ably supported by Valerie Perrine as Bruce's stripper wife, Honey, as much a victim as a lover for Bruce. --Marshall Fine

Product Description

Two-time Oscar(r) winner* Dustin Hoffman brings controversial 60s comedian Lenny Bruce tolife in this landmark (Variety) film that earned six Oscar(r) nominations,** including Best Picture. A jagged portrait of a man driven to mainlining honesty into the arteries of a hypocritical culture (Newsweek), Lenny is artful, imaginative (Los Angeles Times) and truly an extraordinary film (Saturday Review)! From his first gig as a nervous Catskillcomedian, it's obvious that Lenny Bruce is a force to be reckoned with. Armed with a shocking routine and a stripper as his muse (Valerie Perrine), Lenny turns comedyand Americaon its ear with his abrasive and often offensive humor. But life in the smoke-filled bars of the comedy circuit begins to take its toll. The drugs and arrests for his subject matter wear heavily on this maverick crusader but don't stop him from pushing the envelope right to his tragic and myth-making end. *1988: Actor, Rain Man; 1979: Actor, Kramer vs. Kramer **1974: Actor (Hoffman), Actress (Perrine), Director, Screenplay Adapted from Other Material, Cinematography

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you believe they put a man on the moon... December 17, 2004
Format:DVD
I went into this film knowing nothing about the comic Lenny Bruce, and after watching this film I have already added two of his CDs to my Wish List. I am eager to hear more, to listen to his words, and be intrigued by how his thoughts are still relevant in today's society. This was a beautiful film made in 1974. The decision by director Bob Fosse to film it completely in black and white was brilliant. Hoffman and Perrine's chemistry is brilliant as well as their performances. The power of this man is vividly demonstrated through this film, leaving you with questions answered as well as a desire to hear more. This was such a captivating feature. From the opening sequence of words spewing from a mouth to the final shot of Lenny Bruce, I was glued to my seat.

To begin, the cinematography was better than most feature films. Fosse knew what he was doing and did it with the greatest of ease. His choice to film completely in black and white really helped me hear the words that Bruce spoke instead of just being involved in the colors that surrounded him. The black and white feature gave Hoffman the ability to create a human from his character and take us away from Hoffman and into the mind of comic Lenny Bruce. The shots that Fosse used also assisted with building this compelling story. Every shot is important in this film, and Fosse does a great job of demonstrating and explaining the "why" and "where" of a scene. This was his first and only nonmusical, and he was triumphant. The way that the story works in a pseudo-documentary style was impeccable. While you are never quite told who the person is behind the camera, you do get that raw emotion from the actors as if you were watching a real documentary.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best overlooked film ever! June 23, 2002
A Kid's Review
Format:DVD
3 great films came out of 1974. The Godfather Part 2, Chinatown, and Lenny. The first two are remembered as masterpieces but the third, no one ever seems to talk about. Why? Lenny is a movie that is equal to Chinatown and Godfahter 2. If I was in the Academy, it would be tough to decide to give the Oscar to Pacino or Hoffman but it would be a scandal to vote for Art Carney. How Hoffman didn't get the oscar is beyond me. Some critics say Hoffman was miscast as Lenny Bruce because he isnt funny. I read material on the real Lenny Bruce saying he was not hilarious at all. Hoffman knew this. The critics didn't. Valerie Perrine acts so great. She should have gotten the Oscar. Fine direction from Bob Fosse. Great screenplay by Julian Barry. Some people might call me stupid but I think this is the best picture of 1974. What a great year that was. Im only 13 but sometimes I feel sad because I would like to go back to 1974 and by myself, go to the theater, sit down with popcorn and a coke, and watch Lenny. But I never will and that is very sad for me. They don't make great movies like they used to.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Cinema, Incomplete History November 2, 2005
Format:DVD
Bob Fosse was an amazing talent, and there is much to love about this movie from a cinematic and stylistic standpoint. As a history of Lenny Bruce, however, the picture is selective and over-dramatized. As, I suppose, any biopic has to be, but the selectiveness here seems imbalanced and the dramatization unnecessary. It's a decent introduction to the subject of Lenny Bruce, just don't take it as the whole and gospel truth. And Hoffman--amazingly gifted and one of my favorite actors though he may be--simply does not communicate the live presence that this man had.

Buy a few Lenny CD's (I would recommend Carnegie Hall and the Curran Theater), watch the documentary "Swear to Tell the Truth," watch "Lenny Bruce Without Tears," and if you really wanna get into the minutae then read the book "The Trials of Lenny Bruce" by Ronald Collins and David Skover. Then you'll begin to get the real picture of a brilliant, flawed, hilarious man and his relevance to the First Amendment and the social revolution of the 60's and 70's. Lenny was history. This is just a movie.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Dustin Hoffman's Best Performances June 21, 2000
By Brian
Format:VHS Tape
A powerful biography of the brilliant but doomed night-club comedian Lenny Bruce. Taking the form of a pseudo documentary, an unseen interviewer questions Bruce's wife, mother, and agent about his life. We are shown Bruce's early 50's beginnings as an unremarkable comic performing hackneyed material. He then meets Honey Harlow, the stripper who becomes his wife. Their marriage is happy at first. Then they get involved with drugs and swinging, which cause problems and they eventually divorce. This first half of the film uses the effective technique of frequently cutting to one of Bruce's later performances to illustrate how these experiences inspired some of his routines. Meanwhile, during a period working as an MC in strip joints, Bruce develops the improvisational style for which he became famous. He moves back to the nigh-clubs, wher his daring satire brings him acclaim and (initially) fortune. Eventually the authorities take notice, and he is subjected to a string of busts for obscenity and drugs, which make it increasingly difficult to get work. Bruce's legal and money problems pile up, and he finally dies of a drugs overdose. In some ways then, Lenny is a typical Hollywood rags-to-riches-to-rags biopic, but here spiced up with a liberal dose of 70's permissiveness. Its sparse Black and white photography effectively compliments Bruce's increasing despair. The supporting cast are all good, and Valerie Perrine is particularly strong as Bruce's wife. But it is Dustin Hoffman who dominates the film. His performance as Bruce is compelling, especially in the night-club scenes. Precious little film exists of the real Lenny Bruce in live performance. Watching Hoffman recreate his routines is the next best thing. For that alone, this film is to be commended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars "Video collection" terrible
Do NOT buy anything that comes from "the video collection". It is a despicable company that will steal your money.
Published 1 day ago by Garry Whittaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Good show.
Story of my name-sake. Good show.
Published 1 month ago by Leonard M. Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Film!
Published 1 month ago by D. B.One
4.0 out of 5 stars A few too many "uninteresting scenes."
Considering the year mad overall a good flick. Bear in mind I'm 68 born and bred in Brooklyn and so the time frame familiar to me.
Published 4 months ago by Ralph Grosso
5.0 out of 5 stars What did he just say?
Biopics come and go, and actors take on legendary faces and win Oscars all the time, but what sets a real great biopic apart from the pack is a vision; a unique and gifted way of... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Andrew Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars Bob Fosse + Lenny Bruce = Amazing
The story of a fascinating man told by a master filmmaker. Hoffman gives one of the best performances of his career. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Eric Trenkamp
4.0 out of 5 stars "Don't Pay The High Price Like I Did"...It's Been Reissued!"
Yes...just like everyone who is a fan of this great movie....I paid $34 for a brand new copy back in 2011 right here on amazon......BUT..... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Derrick Hoffman
5.0 out of 5 stars A First Amendment Hero!
I had heard Lenny Bruce's name mentioned every time a comedian discussed their influences, so I wanted to know more about him. Read more
Published 13 months ago by J. Hojnacki
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible
Do not buy. Doesn't play in American DVD player. Wish I would have never purchased this item. Never buying from this buyer again.
Published 13 months ago by Pappas
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this movie!
Dustin Hoffman is as amazing as you'd expect. He pours himself into this role, and Bob Fosse's direction handles his life story with a warm embrace of all the seaminess and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Benjamin
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