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Blu-ray Review: Martin Scorsese’s ‘The King of Comedy’ Crosses Generations

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment. That’s a part of it. But one of the special features on this release—“Tribeca Film Festival: A Conversation with Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis”—finally clears up another thing that always felt off about “Comedy”. It’s not an ’80s movie. As Scorsese says, it’s a film that somehow snuck into the ’80s but clearly feels more at home in the more-auteur less-Hollywood cinema of the ’70s. In many ways, it’s one of the last of those flicks, films driven by auteurs with social visions. Pre “Heaven’s Gate”, after which auteurs were shut down for profits.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

The Blu-ray release from Fox is a strong one with a great transfer but it’s the film itself that remains remarkably timeless. And kind of out of time as well. DeNiro is universally recognized as great here but if you watch it again—and you should watch it again—take notice of Lewis’ performance. It’s one of his best. Sadly, the Tribeca reunion, which should have been so great, is marred by mediocre questions (“How did you guys get together?”) when one hopes for something deeper. Still, I’ll take a disappointing conversation with Marty, Jerry, and Bobby D. over most special features any day.

The King of Comedy was released on Blu-ray on March 25, 2014
The King of Comedy was released on Blu-ray on March 25, 2014
Photo credit: Fox

Academy Award Winner Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard give mesmerizing performances in this “chilling black comedy” (TV Guide’s Movie Guide) that explores the painfully high and often hilarious price of fame. Desperate to be a star, struggling stand-up comedian Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) enlists the aid of his fanatical friend Masha (Bernhard) to kidnap talk show host Jerry Langford (Lewis). The Ransom? A guest spot for Pupkin. The results? Outrageous! The King Of Comedy stands as Scorsese’s prophetic masterpiece which confronts a celebrity culture that “looks more disturbingly current with each passing year” (Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide).

Special Features:
o Tribeca Film Festival: A Conversation With Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro And Jerry Lewis
o A Shot At The Top: The Making Of “The King Of Comedy”
o Deleted And Extended Scenes
o Theatrical Trailer

“The King of Comedy” was released on Blu-ray on March 25, 2014.

HollywoodChicago.com Contributor Brian Tallerico


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