“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 1983 / Parental Guidance / Director: Martin Scorsese / Actors: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott, Sandra Bernhard, Shelley Hack ... / DVD released 2004-04-19 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen „
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Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese have collaborated a number of times on the big screen, but one of the most overlooked of their joint efforts is this dark comedy, King of Comedy. It's a tale of obsession that is a far cry from the gangster streets usually associated with the actor and the director, and focuses on a wannabe comedian looking for a shot at the big time. Praised by the critics but somehow not such a big hit with fans, it's a quirky look at the comedy scene.
De Niro plays Rupert Pupkin, a man who believes he's going to be the next big thing in terms of comedy. When a chance encounter means he gets a couple of minutes alone with late night talk show host Jerry Langford, the aspiring comic becomes obsessed with getting a guest slot on Jerry's show. As the film progresses, so does Pupkin's obsession in a mild mannered and assuming way, coming to a head when he resorts to more desperate measures to get what he wants.
Perhaps the best thing about it all is De Niro's acting. Pupkin has only one goal, and that is to get on Jerry's show and have his few minutes of fame to address the nation with his comic routine. He never once loses his temper, remains polite and patient nearly all the time, and seems completely oblivious to the fact that you can't just waltz in and grab a slot on a high demanding show with no experience and a sample tape that doesn't seem to impress very much.
De Niro is joined by Sarah Bernhard who plays another obsessed Jerry fan, as well as Diahnne Abbot who plays waitress Rita, the object of Pupkin's affections. He is so determined to impress her that it drives his ambition even further, and the way his calm and casual character goes about fuelling his obsession with Jerry is almost chilling in its friendliness.
Scorsese directs this with equalling calm, seeming to keep things on an even keel throughout, showing patience in script and with camera, and allows De Niro to do a lot of the work for him. Jerry Lewis is also put to excellent use as the talk show host, initially calm and obviously used to the attention but growing increasingly angry and annoyed that this fan won't leave him alone. As things come to a head and Pupkin resorts to more serious measures to get what he wants, the tension mounts, and Scorses teases us with Pupkin's routine, making us wonder throughout the film whether or not it's any good. The confidence is certainly there, and you don't feel that he'd give up after just a couple of boos, but whether or not this means he'd be any good is another thing.
The film even ends calmly, and it's so full of control that it's one that deserves the critical acclaim it gets. However, I can easily see why it isn't such a popular film with audiences. It's very calm throughout, and although things certainly happen, there's almost an uneventful air about it, and even when police are involved there's a calm in the air and nothing seems that serious. Scorsese and De Niro usually give us something slightly controversial with a bit of anger and some clear and apparent passion and emotion, whereas The King of Comedy hides its characters' emotions more than releases them, and this is part of the skill but also part of the lack of attraction.
As a result, I applaud it for the skill levels, and De Niro as Pupkin is chillingly superb, but I was hoping for something with a bit more pizzazz, a bit more of a hectic and heightened end, as opposed to the calm going from start to finish. Highly recommended, but more for film experts and critics than an audience looking to be highly entertained.
Directed by Martin Scorsese The King of Comedy is a very good film. It is a comedy with a dark side and thoroughly entertaining. Robert De Niro stars as upert Pupkin who dreams of being a top stand up comedien ad his all time hero is a talk show host called Jerry Langford who is played by Jerry Lewis.
This adoration takes on a rather darker side as it starts to border on obsession for Pupkin as he follows his hero around and this impacts on his own relationships and his chances of being successful.
De Niro is excellent in this film and the film is an excellent showcaseto protray his acting talents and how versatile he is as an actor, able to do action films and comedy roles with equal aplomb. The cast is top quality with Sandra Bernhard palying another fan who is obsessed with the talk show host and Jerry Lewis is excellent in the role of the successful late night TV chat show host.
The film is well paced and while some of the laughter is laced with a slight cringe factor the comedy works well and the I liked some of the subtleties in the dialogue that is at times delivered in an understated way.
Certainly a film that is well worth checking out and even though it was made in the early eighties it is still very topical today. Four stars from me for this dark comedy.
The King Of Comedy is an excellent dark comedy film directed by the great Martin Scorsese (The Departed, Goodfellas, Gangs Of New York, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver) that was released in 1983.
It has gained critical acclaim and Total Film magazine rated it the best film of 1983 in its greatest 80's films ever poll. I had never even heard of this film until I read this article and as I saw that it had won I added it to my Lovefilm list. We received it this morning and watched it a few hours later.
The King Of Comedy is about an aspiring stand-up comic called Rupert Pupkin (Robert Di Nero) who wants to achieve success in showbiz by any means necessary. Even if this means stalking his idol, the late night talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis)
I watched this film with no real idea about what to expect and I found it to be a great surprise so I'm not going to give away the plot too much as that would just spoil it for you! All I am going to say is that Rupert Pupkin is very delusional and will not stop for anything until his fantasies come true!
Robert Di Nero (Heat, Meet The Parents, Men of Honour, Jackie Brown) had worked with Martin Scorsese on Raging Bull and Taxi Driver before he took the part of Rupert Pupkin and it is very clear that this is a great relationship between actor and director. I thought that Di Nero gave a great performance and brought a certain creepiness to the role that was very important.
The whole cast was perfect and Jerry Lewis played the chat show host brilliantly. He was very believable as the experienced, smooth talking idol.
Sandra Bernhard (Roseanne) plays the character of Masha, a crazy delusional, psycho fan of Jerry Langford. Where ever Jerry is, Masha won't be far away!
Scorsese is more well known for his Thriller, Crime, Action films but The King Of Comedy really proves that he can turn his hand to anything and produce a great film. At 109 minutes long it moves at a good pace and never has any dull places where it feels like nothing is going on.
As The King Of Comedy was made in 1982 it does feel like it has aged quite a lot and this is the main reason that I have to mark it down. Some of the comedy in it might not make much sense to a modern audience but it is still funny nether the less.
From this film it seems like the early 80's was the time when chat show hosts and TV personalities were gaining the same "Celebrity" status that we see today. I loved seeing Rupert just walking into Jerry's mansion to try to talk him into giving him a slot on his show. I could just imagine a crazy wannabe singer strolling into Simon Cowells house to ask him for a record contract! I bet you couldn't even get through the gates! Haha. How times have changed!
If you see this film on DVD for cheap then I can't think of reason you shouldn't buy it. It's £4.99 on Play.com at the moment and I have seen it in HMV for about £3 before and it is definitely worth buying at that price.
I'm not sure why this film is never mentioned when people talk about Scorsese film. I really enjoyed it! Just because it is very different from his usual successes doesn't mean it should be over looked! This isn't a laugh out loud film but it will make you laugh to yourself quite a lot, especially at the way no one pronounces Rupert Pupkin's name right... Pumpkin? Papkin? Perpin? PUPKIN!
Martin Scorsese is a true auteur; he might be known best for his gangster films such as Mean Street, Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed, but he's also directed a period film (The Age of Innocence), a sports film (Raging Bull), two existential dramas (Taxi Driver & The Last Temptation of Christ), and now a dark comedy. He has collaborated so many times with Robert DeNiro, but one of his most overlooked attempts has to be The King of a Comedy, a film that has always been a huge critical hit but has never really managed to connect with audiences for some reason despite being superbly written, directed and acted.
Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) is an aspiring stand-up comic who frequently hangs out backstage with the hope of getting the autographs of his favourite comedians. When he, by complete chance, meets his favourite comedian, Jerry Langford (Lewis), he thinks that his luck is about to change, and he's going to get a chance to prove himself on Langford's show, but after he is rejected by both Langford's crew and then eventually Langford himself, he falls into a deep, dark hole from which he cannot return, becoming obsessed with Langford and ultimately hatching a plan to kidknap him in order that he can bargain to get himself a position on the show.
Perhaps it's that people weren't expecting such a savagely dark comedy, or that audiences just weren't ready for it, but this acerbic slice of genius is one of DeNiro's best performance and arguably Lewis's greatest use on screen. Scorsese reminds us why he's the greatest director of all time with some muscular glimpses at psychosis and the quest for fame, with a smart script that stands alongside Network as a work of ironic genius.
I re-watched this last night for the first time in a long time and felt it necessary to highlight this little seen gem.
Directed by Martin Scorcese, the story follows Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro), an aspiring stand up comic attempting to gain a slot on his hero Jerry Langford's (Jerry Lewis) chat show. After one too many knock backs he takes extreme measures with his friend, a girl obssessed with Langford who is played by Sandra Bernhardt.
The character of Pupkin is almost like a friendlier version of another De Niro/Scorcese creation, Travis Bickle. He is another delusional guy, living out his fantasies of fame in his mother's basement - some good humour is mined from her interrupting his day dreams. The difference between the two characters is whilst Bickle is a cynic, Pupkin is the eternal optimist who you can't help liking. Bernhardt is also good as his equally delusional friend.
This isn't a laugh out loud film, but I tended to watch most of it with a
smile on my face thanks to the performances by all involved as you can tell that everyone is enjoying themselves and a running gag involving the mispronuciation of Rubert's name.
If you go in with any preconceptions of what to expect from the director and his lead, hopefully this should come as a pleasant surprise.