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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lenny Bruce was not only first, but he was different
For a film that's over 30 years old, this looks great. What helps matters is that it's black and white, which is easier to clean up in the post production process. Really though, it looks like it could have been filmed last year. Dustin Hoffman channels Lenny Bruce in a film directed by Bob Fosse. Yes it's a weird thing, there's no denying that. Bob Fosse, who was better...
Published on 13 Nov. 2007 by Jenny J.J.I.

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1.0 out of 5 stars Kupilem ten film tylko dlatego ze sprzedawca poinformowal ze na ...
Kupilem ten film tylko dlatego ze sprzedawca poinformowal ze na plycie znajduja sie polskie napisy. Niestety napisow brak, a angielskiego niestety nie znam.
Published 2 months ago by Marek Kapron


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lenny Bruce was not only first, but he was different, 13 Nov. 2007
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This review is from: Lenny [DVD] (DVD)
For a film that's over 30 years old, this looks great. What helps matters is that it's black and white, which is easier to clean up in the post production process. Really though, it looks like it could have been filmed last year. Dustin Hoffman channels Lenny Bruce in a film directed by Bob Fosse. Yes it's a weird thing, there's no denying that. Bob Fosse, who was better known for his choreography (Chicago, Cabaret), turned to directing as another outlet of his creative forces. As for Hoffman, looking at his body of work makes this role in particular standout. I'm surprised that he chose to play Bruce, an outspoken, angry man. After all, Hoffman is usually more the weirdo or mealy-mouthed villain. Then again, what was Bruce if not a slightly weird guy, who ultimately was shy except when he inhabited the stage.

Lenny Bruce was the driving force behind making comedy into the socially challenging medium it is today. The structure is episodes of his life tied together with commentary from his agent, his wife (played by Valerie Perrine), and other important characters in his life. Lenny was one of the original dirty mouthed comedians, but with a point. He was taking on the establishment, and the hypocrisy of contemporary society. He was arrested and tried several times on obscenity charges, for things like using the word c**sucker during a public performance. He also had a problem with drug abuse, largely due to the influence of his addict wife. She was a headline stripper when they met, and he was a young comedian. Bruce died never really seeing the fruits of his passion.

Fosse was an accomplished director, managing to channel some mavericks of his own in the direction of this movie. With its loose cutting style and drifting camera, the film at points feels like a Cassavete's film and this style works perfectly with the subject matter. Because of this, Lenny has a pure authenticity that's impossible to shake. There never feels like a false moment and Hoffman is particularly great (he was nominated for this role.) All of Lenny's acts are performed nearly verbatim, and all the court and interview transcripts are pulled from his life. Given that Bruce was a man under constant surveillance while he performed, so that the recordings could be used against him in court, allowing these same words to redeem him is Lenny's greatest accomplishment. Even if he doesn't know it, Lenny was right all along. I honestly enjoyed this film and like to thank JoeyD. for recommend it to me.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No-one said being funny would be easy..., 24 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Lenny [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Lenny Bruce was a complex and troubled individual. In many ways he symbolised the paradoxes of the sixties. He longed for freedom but wound up addicted to substances, he wanted sexual liberation yet he was mysoginistic and immature in his attitudes to women, he spoke his mind, but in the land of the free, was constantly in trouble with the law for the things he said.
Lenny's words still have the power to shock in this masterful biopic and Dustin Hoffman shows again why he is one of the most versatile and well-loved character actors of our time. Though he may not be the great comendic talent that Bruce was, this grossly under-rated film is not just about stand-up and Hoffman's understanding of the real Lenny Bruce on and off-stage make 'Lenny' a fascinating look into the life and times of the ground-breaking comic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lenny Bruce defies them all, 15 Nov. 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lenny [DVD] (DVD)
"Lenny", played by Dustin Hoffman, with Valerie Perrine and directed by Bob Fosse, is the story of Leonard Alfred Schneider (1925-1966), better known by his stage name Lenny Bruce, a Jewish-American comedian, social critic and satirist. His 1964 conviction in an obscenity trial was followed by a posthumous pardon, the first in New York state history.

The film/DVD will undoubtedly still shock people as the original Lenny Bruce did and some may even question the film's rating of fifteen for the same reasons.

It is, undoubtedly, a sad tale, a comedian with the ability successfully to entertain audiences with that typically Jewish humour we know from Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Shecky Greene, Red Buttons, Milton Berle and many others but he was not content with that. He pushed his humour far into foul-mouthed satire and social criticism of an extreme variety (as he saw it) and fell foul of the authorities. Unable to prevent himself, determined to assert the right to perform, misguided, in an alcoholic and drug induced haze or just pig-headed (and the film presents all of these, and other motivations at times) he pursues a path that until "One last four-letter word for Lenny: Dead. At forty. That's obscene."

Hoffman played him to perfection and, despite his unattractive features (Bruce not Hoffman), managed to elicit sympathy; the character was ideal for Hoffman, the determined and driven underdog, and he shows why he is now one of the cinemas most respected actors.

The 1974 black-and-white film obviously drew the crowds to the tune of an $11 million gross. It was screened or awarded at the BAFTA Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Golden Globes and Oscar Academy Awards. The b/w made remastering it easier and the DVD quality is very good; somehow, the b/w seems to set it clearly in its time and reinforce its age.

Not everyone's evening's entertainment and certainly NOT family viewing, it will present thinking adults with a great deal to consider, e.g. changing styles of humour, "rights" of comedians, social commentators and satarists to stretch the boundaries of acceptability, authorities' duties to determine a socially acceptable line and maintain it, what drives individuals like Bruce to use/misuse/abuse lives in the way he did and others do and so on. Many comedians, in public performances, still stretch the boundaries, e.g. Billy Connolly has always sworn copiously in live performances, although he avoids it on television and even the popular and mild-manner Michael Macintyre changes his deliveries for live audiences. However, Bruce was in another "linguistic and observation league" altogether, as the film shows clearly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The rise and fall of Lenny Bruce, 8 May 2015
By 
Mr. E. A. Dobson "dwardstings" (West Yorkshire,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lenny [DVD] (DVD)
My knowledge of Lenny before watching this was only average and not expecting much the film surpassed my expectations. Dustin Hoffman is right at home playing Lenny and there is good support from Valerie Perrine. The ending seemed rather abrupt but otherwise a solid biopic. 3 1/2 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than a comic, 3 Oct. 2014
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J. Colville "Jamie" (Leicestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lenny (DVD)
Never seen this before and was too overly familiar with Lenny Bruce. The film changed all that! Dustin H at his best and a worthwile couple of hours I am glad I sepnt wathing it!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Kupilem ten film tylko dlatego ze sprzedawca poinformowal ze na ..., 19 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Lenny [DVD] (DVD)
Kupilem ten film tylko dlatego ze sprzedawca poinformowal ze na plycie znajduja sie polskie napisy. Niestety napisow brak, a angielskiego niestety nie znam.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars worthy but somewhat boring, 24 April 2012
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This review is from: Lenny [DVD] (DVD)
I don't find Lenny Bruce funny. There, I said it. He was necessary and important and all sorts of other words, and I'm glad he came along, and I'm sorry he had such a tough time of it, but I love standup, and he isn't someone I can listen to. His tone is annoying, his material boring, and he just doesn't raise a smile. Maybe it's me, or maybe his material has been copied, improved on, and the times have changed so much that he is just no longer relevant. In fact, the funniest thing I know about Lenny Bruce is the Peter Cook story about when Lenny came to perform at Cook's Establishment club. Cook was excited at having Lenny turn up, but Bruce was a wreck who got evicted from his hotel, and ended up staying with Cook. Cook was trying to keep him out of trouble, so when Bruce said he wanted heroin, Cook went out to look for some. He trawled round everyone he knew, but couldn't get hold of any. Eventually he returned, exhausted, after a night of touring dodgy London spots looking for heroin, and admitted he couldn't get any. "Alright," said Bruce, "what about some chocolate?"

Unfortunately, and unforgivably for a film portraying a story about a magnetic, exciting, funny comedian, watching the stage routines on "Lenny" are quite boring, which is the polar opposite of how it must have been (whichever side of the fence you were on regarding whether he should be allowed to perform or not). This is not Hoffman's fault - he is impeccable. He absolutely nails it - the mannerisms, the speech, the essence. He's perfect. The fault is the material, which just didn't work for me. I couldn't connect with it.

The story itself is a sad tale, although maybe I'd have loved this more when I was younger. Watching him push all the judge's buttons trying to clear himself, watching his constant arguing, even when threatened with contempt of court, I think the teenage me would have been railing at the injustice of it all. But I was watching it thinking "Shut the hell up, you idiot!" I guess that might have been the title of the film in some ways - not that he was an idiot, of course, but because his talking was what got him in such trouble all the time, hounded by the police every time he opened his mouth. It seems so tragic that he was persecuted so much for views that don't even seem shocking at all fifty years later. And I guess he was one of the main reasons for that - it took people like that to move things on. Maybe that makes him a villain - maybe a hero. I guess there's still debate on that.

The film looks great, is an important story, and has a remarkable performance at the heart of it. I just couldn't connect with it, and it had all the excitement and resonance of a history lesson.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 9 July 2014
This review is from: Lenny [DVD] (DVD)
okay not great just okay
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 18 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Lenny [DVD] (DVD)
A classic
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so great, this Dustin Hoffman, 15 July 2013
By 
Pierre Brewee - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lenny [DVD] (DVD)
I knew Lenny Bruce, knew this guy who shocked the public with his dirty words and was put in jail for it, but the figure of Lenny disappointed me: after a while the only thing he did was complaining about the system, slamming the public with a serie of all his trials: dates and places and words. That's not amusing, that's realy very boring. Not Hoffman his fault of course, but never the less. Okay to discover the figure of Lenny Bruce, but that's all.
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