Original film poster
|Directed by||Bob Fosse|
|Produced by||Marvin Worth|
|Screenplay by||Julian Barry|
|Based on||Lenny |
by Julian Barry
|Music by||Ralph Burns|
|Edited by||Alan Heim|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$11,622,000 (rentals)|
Lenny is a 1974 American biographical drama film about the comedian Lenny Bruce, starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay by Julian Barry is based on his play of the same name.
The film jumps between various sections of Bruce's life, including scenes of when he was in his prime and the burned-out, strung-out performer who, in the twilight of his life, used his nightclub act to pour out his personal frustrations. We watch as up-and-coming Bruce courts his "Shiksa goddess", a stripper named Honey. With family responsibilities, Lenny is encouraged to do a "safe" act, but he cannot do it. Constantly in trouble for flouting obscenity laws, Lenny develops a near-messianic complex which fuels both his comedy genius and his talent for self-destruction. Worn out by a lifetime of tilting at Establishment windmills, Lenny Bruce dies of a morphine overdose in 1966.
Director Fosse decided to cast a real-life Broward County Bailiff in the role of the Dade County Bailiff who would drag Dustin Hoffman (Lenny) out of the Courtroom. Aldo DeMeo, the President of the Bailiff's Association at the time, was offered the role. The scene when Lenny is dragged from the courtroom was chosen as the clip screened at the Academy Awards to represent the film as a candidate for Best Picture. Casting was completed by Florida-based casting director, Beverly McDermott.
Lenny opened at Cinema I in New York City on Sunday, November 10, 1974 and grossed a house record $14,981 in its first day.
Lenny was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on April 1, 2003 as a Region 1 widescreen DVD and by Twilight Time (under license from MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) as a Region 1 widescreen Blu-ray Disc on February 10, 2015.