The King of Comedy

( 4 )

Overview

Martin Scorsese's little seen but outstanding The King of Comedy finally makes it's way to DVD, which will surely please the director's fans. Though this disc could have been so much better, what is offered isn't too bad. The image, framed at 1.85:1 and anamorphic, isn't the best out there. It's certainly superior to the other video formats in the past, but still, the picture lacks real detail and the colors aren't particularly strong. Part of this is due to the visual style of the film, but also in the transfer ...
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Overview

Martin Scorsese's little seen but outstanding The King of Comedy finally makes it's way to DVD, which will surely please the director's fans. Though this disc could have been so much better, what is offered isn't too bad. The image, framed at 1.85:1 and anamorphic, isn't the best out there. It's certainly superior to the other video formats in the past, but still, the picture lacks real detail and the colors aren't particularly strong. Part of this is due to the visual style of the film, but also in the transfer used. What can be said for the sound? The English stereo Dolby Digital track lacks any significant punch but still suits this film fine. Dialogue is generally clear and distortion free, which is all that really would be hoped for. As for extras, the only one of significance is a featurette called "A Shot at the Top" which runs about 18 minutes long. It's made up with as many scenes from the movie as interviews with the only two participants, Scorsese and actress Sandra Bernhard. Also included are 33 images of behind the scene shots and straightforward stills from the film, a very effective theatrical trailer, and a less-effective Canadian TV spot. Finally, there is one deleted scene which is already covered in the featurette and a long version of "Jerry Langford's" (played by Jerry Lewis) full late show monologue, which is only so funny. A commentary on this dark comedy from Scorsese would have been a wonderful addition, but sadly isn't the case.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; "A Shot At the Top" making-of featurette; Still gallery; Theatrical trailer and TV spot; Anamorphic widescreen (Aspect Ratio 1.85:1); Audio: English stereo, English mono, French mono, Spanish mono; Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Dreams of stardom become a star's nightmare in The King of Comedy, a sharp, surgically precise satire from director Martin Scorsese. Robert DeNiro plays Rupert Pupkin, an aspiring stand-up comedian who kidnaps his idol, a famous TV talk-show host Jerry Lewis, in a desperate attempt to get his big break. While this implausible plot might suggest farce, Scorsese opts instead for a darker tone: Lewis's Tonight-styled talk show is barely shown, and Pupkin's stand-up material isn't even heard until the end of the film. Indeed, neither comedy nor real-world celebrity is really of interest here; what matters are Pupkin's delusions of grandeur, and the film slips neatly into fantasy to get inside Pupkin's head, while honing an ominous edge reminiscent of Taxi Driver. DeNiro, who was the star of that film as well, is perfectly suited to the part of a not-so-average Joe whose obsessive compulsions are infused with an inscrutable air of menace. Meanwhile, show-biz legend Lewis is perfectly cast as the beleaguered victim of fan adulation, barely cracking a smile in a low-key performance that somehow anchors the film. By the end, although King of Comedy's portrayal of mass-media culture invites comparisons to a film like Network, it lacks that film's grand satirical scope. Instead, it triumphs as an intensely focused exploration of the perils of celebrity worship.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Despite favorable reviews and good business in a few big cities, The King of Comedy died at the box office; but this uneasily humorous examination of the bizarre relationship between stardom and fandom looks more disturbingly current with each passing year. Martin Scorsese reins in the technical verve of his prior work, so that The King of Comedy's bright, flat lighting and simple editing mimic the look of television, the film's subject; visual flourishes are saved for Rupert's fantasies, signalling how off-kilter he is. Rupert is just as obsessive as Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle, revealing the potential danger in an American cult of celebrity that idolizes stars, provokes resentment of fame's privileges, and turns deranged menaces into celebrities.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/17/2002
  • UPC: 024543038948
  • Original Release: 1983
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Searchlight
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Mono / Stereo
  • Sound: stereo, monaural
  • Language: English, Français, Español
  • Time: 1:49:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 30,966

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert De Niro Rupert Pupkin
Jerry Lewis Jerry Langford
Diahnne Abbott Rita
Sandra Bernhard Marsha
Shelley Hack Cathy
Tony Randall Himself
Ed Herlihy Himself
Lou Brown Band Leader
Margo Winkler Receptionist
Matt Russo Cabbie
Scotty Bloch Crockett's Secretary
Whitey Ryan Stage Door Guard
Edgar J. Scherick Wilson Crockett
Liza Minnelli Herself
Diane Rachell Mrs. McCabe
Ralph Monaco Raymond Wirtz
Bill Minkin McCabe
Sel Vitella Man at Telephone
Loretta Tupper Stage Door Fan
Katherine Wallach Autograph Seeker
Catherine Scorsese Rupert's Mom
Charles Scorsese Man at Bar
Joe Strummer Street Scum
Martin Scorsese TV director
Marvin Scott Voice Only
Frederick de Cordova Himself
Jeff David Announcer
Ellen Foley Street Scum
Marta Heflin Young Girl
Dr. Joyce Brothers Herself
Tony Devon Plainclothesman
Peter Fain Plainclothesman
Richard Dioguardi Capt. Burk
Ray Dittrich Giardello
Mardik Martin Men at Bar
Victor Borge Himself
Leslie Levinson Roberta Posner
Charles Low Man in Chinese Restaurant
Mick Jones Street Scum
George Kapp Mystery Guest
Thelma Lee Woman in Phone Booth
Kim Chan Jonno
Doc Lawless Chauffeur
Technical Credits
Martin Scorsese Director
Richard Bruno Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert F. Colesberry Associate Producer
Cis Corman Casting
Robert Greenhut Executive Producer
Les Lazarowitz Sound/Sound Designer
Boris Leven Production Designer
Scott Maitland Asst. Director
Arnon Milchan Producer
Lawrence Miller Art Director
Edward Pisoni Art Director
Daniel Robert Set Decoration/Design
Robbie Robertson Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Thelma Schoonmaker Editor
Fred Schuler Cinematographer
Paul D. Zimmerman Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Say Hello to Jerry [3:14]
2. Main Titles [2:35]
3. Pupkin's Pitch [5:18]
4. Something Impossible [2:30]
5. A Call From Masha [1:20]
6. Mr. Romance [8:40]
7. Rupert Pupkin Calling [6:01]
8. Masha [2:24]
9. The Audition Tape [4:24]
10. How Do You Do It? [1:50]
11. Out in Public [2:58]
12. Royal Wedding [3:24]
13. Not Ready Yet [7:46]
14. Jerry's "Guests" [8:46]
15. Kidnapped [4:01]
16. The Phone Call [4:10]
17. Jerry's Word [5:04]
18. A Stupid Offense [2:25]
19. Mr. King [1:30]
20. Alone With Jerry [3:21]
21. Rules & Regulations [3:04]
22. Come Rain or Come Shine [1:30]
23. The FBI [3:52]
24. Showtime [2:01]
25. Masha's Mistake [2:42]
26. The Newest King of Comedy [7:33]
27. A Household Word [2:30]
28. End Titles [3:36]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Language Selection
      Languages
         English Mono
         French Mono
         Spanish Mono
      Subtitles
         English
         Spanish
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      A Shot At the Top: The Making of The King of Comedy
      Deleted Scenes
         Jerry Meets His Fans
         Jerry Langford's Monologue
      Theatrical Trailer
      Canadian TV Spot
      Still Gallery
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Stand Out Performances

    Scorcese shows his skills as a director bringing top-notch performances from DeNiro, Bernhart, and Lewis. The scene with DeNiro in his mock studio with Liza and Jerry is both hysterically funny and excruciatingly painful to watch. It was under rated by critics and the public at the time of release. Their loss. It is a terrific movie and shows insight into the hazards of celebrity and the lunacy of the fringe fans that cling to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    DeNiro's best, bar none

    Out of print on video for years, this is truly a gem for anyone's film collection. For once DeNiro doesn't lapse into trite mannerisms, and even those who absolutely hate Jerry Lewis will enjoy his intelligent performance here. On repeat viewings you might want to give the final five minutes of Pupkin's stand-up comedy a pass, though; it really is awful. The extras on the disc are a welcome addition to a fascinating film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    LONG LIVE THE KING

    After creating some of the best urban dramas the screen has seen, Marty Scorsese did 2 dark comedy gems in the 1980's: AFTER HOURS (1985) and THE KING OF COMEDY. Both never got the audience they deserved until both landed on cable and video. With another celluloid psycho in his vitae DeNiro is just as frightening here as he was in TAXI DRIVER or MEAN STREETS, only this time it's easier to laugh. The theme of ''At what price fame'' gets across with ease and dims the vicarious thrill of living the celebrity life. Jerry Lewis shines and the dining room scene with Sandra Bernhard is a riot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews