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The King Of Comedy (Bilingual)
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Martin Scorsese's The King Of Comedy is a funny depiction of the dangers of celebrity fandom. Robert De Niro plays the ridiculously inept Rupert Rupkin, an aspiring comic who idolizes talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). Still living at home with his mother, Rupert spends his days trying to arrange a meeting with his hero. When he isn't doing that, he's at home talking to carboard cutouts in his makeshift television studio. After Rupert convinces Rita (Diahnne Abbot), a pretty bartender, that Langford has invited them to his house outside the city, the reality of the situation makes itself painfully apparent upon arriving at the star's front door. Trouble is, Rupert's too delusional to take the hint. He eventually hatches a plan with an equally obsessed fan, Masha (Sandra Berhard), to kidnap Langford in exchange for a chance to let him deliver his routine on the air.
The King of Comedy, which flopped at the box office, is actually a gem waiting to be rediscovered. Like A Face in the Crowd (a not-so-distant cousin to this film), Network, and The Truman Show, its target is show business--specifically the burning desire to become famous or be near the famous, no matter what. Robert De Niro plays the emotionally unstable, horrendously untalented Rupert Pupkin, a wannabe Vegas-style comedian. His fantasies are egged on by Marsha, a talk-show groupie (brilliantly played by Sandra Bernhard) who hatches a devious, sure-to-backfire plan. Jerry Lewis is terrific in the straight role as the Johnny Carson-like talk-show host Jerry Langford. De Niro's performance as the obsessive Pupkin is among his finest (which is saying a lot) and he never tries to make the character likable in any way. Because there's no hero and no one to root for, and because at times the film insists we get a little too close and personal with Pupkin, some will be put off. Yet it's one of Scorsese's most original and fascinating films, giving viewers much to consider on the subject of celebrity. Its inevitable climax is clever and quietly horrific. --Christopher J. Jarmick --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Aside from being wickedly funny and beautifully acted, it is also an original, satisfying story. In the end, the completely nutty and pathetic Rupert is actually rather good when given the chance. His routine fulfills the role and situation perfectly.
Martin did another movie after this called After Hours, which also derived humor from tense situations.
The King of Comedy Blu-ray includes some decent special features. I highly recommend it.
Its concept was so far ahead of its time that even celluloid sooth-Sayer and noted auteur Marty Scorsese could not really get his head around it until the late 1970s, and even then only at the persistent urging of Robert DiNiro who had originally acquired the script not long after it was produced.
Working to craft what may have been the last claustrophobic, quirky character study for a major studio, Scorsese produced a film that was brilliantly cast with Jerry Lewis and the then unknown Sandra Bernhard and featured the early 1980s, grungy New York City as a lead protagonist.
The story of a strange man in his mid 30s, under-employed and who still lived at home in his parents basement-see present day for reference-who believed that he was such a comedic talent that he could go directly from fooling around in his rec room, to headline on a national TV talk show.
DiNiro plays the mentally unbalanced principal character, Rupert Pupkin, as the new age (Taxi Driver) Travis Bickle, who instead of murder and mayhem will use guile and nerve to achieve world-wide fame and notoriety.
Jerry Lewis, as talk-show host Jerry Langford probably delivers the best performance of his long film career with the one caveat that he is basically just playing himself, although here, that is clearly enough.
DiNiro's character and that of Sandra Bernhard's frenzied styling of a wacko obsessed fan manage to somehow kidnap Lewis/Langford and hold him until DiNiro/Pupkin can tape the opening monologue of the late night show which features a terrific cameo by the late, great Tony Randall.Read more ›
De Niro is excellent but for once he is upstaged by Sandra Bernhard's terrifyingly mad Masha. Lewis adds an interesting dimension by portraying Langford pretty unsympathetically as a not particularly likeable guy. When Pupkin and Masha go to the extreme of kidnapping him, few people are likely to be wholeheartedly rooting for him to get away and thwart their plans. That gives the film a complexity lacking in the later de Niro movie "The Fan" which reprises the central theme of this in a far more simplistic, black and white way.
This is a brilliant film, one of Scorsese's very best. But do I enjoy watching it? Well, I'm not at all sure that I do. The mistake may be to think of it as a black comedy. We're tempted to do so really only because comedy is its subject matter but there is very little about it that is funny. Better perhaps to classify it as a horror movie. That captures the sense in which we manage to find ourselves engaged by something which is, at certain levels, simply an ordeal to watch.Read more ›
The King of Comedy tells the story of Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro, Flawless). Pupkin is a man with a dream, to become the newest King of Comedy. He will stop at nothing to get on the hottest late night talk show "The Jerry Langford Show" and after many months of trying he finally forces a meeting between him and the host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis, Funny Bones).
After the meeting Rupert thinks he's made a new friend. Too bad Jerry doesn't realize that. So Rupert begins to stalk Jerry, showing up at his office, and out his summer home. Then Rupert gets fed up with Jerry's games and decides to kidnap him. Will this get him a shot on the Jerry Langford show? That's up to you to find out.
THE KING OF COMEDY is Taxi Driver light. Rupert Pupkin is disturbed but not dangerous. This works really well, because it gives you an under dog to root for, even if the ends don't justify the means. But aren't all of us a little star struck. Don't we all at one time or another look up and see some hack on television, or a Michael Bay movie and say "Hey I Can Do That?" I think well all have a little Rupert Pupkin in us.
De Niro makes Pupkin come alive. Rupert Pupkin is a really annoying guy. He's the kind of guy who attacks famous people with banal chitchat. If I were famous I'd want to steer clear of a guy like this. I would assume De Niro has had exposure to people like this and that's why he can channel a character like this.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This scathing comedy about fame, television and hangers on to both is one of the best film roles Robert DeNiro has taken on. Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by Larry VanDeSande
Martin Scorsese's brilliant satire about a wannabe standup/schmuck played with deliberate humorlessness by De Niro, who suffers from delusions of grandeur, determined to meet his... Read morePublished on Feb. 29 2004 by Nearly Nubile
How often do you see a film for the first time in which you get so embarrased for the star you want to press stop every 15 minutes! Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2004 by Carl Market
I think this is definatley the most underrated film for Marty/Deniro and possibly even for Deniro. King of Comedy is the portral of Rupert Pupkin who has dreams of late night... Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2004 by Scottie
"Better to be king for a night than a schmuck for a lifetime."
As Travis Bickle's universally known line of dialogue from "Taxi Driver" has a deep meaning ("Are you talkin' to... Read more
De Niro is great, and Lewis gives his best performance. Bernhardt is delightfully eccentric. Watch it twice--once you know how it turns out, the whole movie has a different... Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2003 by Scaramouche
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have their most under rated teaming here. The film had some scenes that I felt were perhaps more disturbing than those in the infamous Taxi... Read morePublished on July 31 2003 by J. Christal