So my movie adventure continues with more Dustin Hoffman. In the previous post I mentioned listening to Here’s The Thing hosted by Alec Baldwin, his interview with Dustin Hoffman. Well it was an interview that had been conducted live in front of an audience as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival – Hollywood 2015. This interview was done in conjunction with a screening of Lenny, the 1974 film by Bob Fosse.
I had never heard of this film. I don’t know why, because I quite enjoyed it and think it should really be more popular than it is. I thought the acting in it was pretty great, and I also enjoyed the format of it. It is based on a play by Julian Barry (he also wrote the screenplay), but according to Hoffman, Bob Fosse came up with the idea of interspersing the Lenny stage performance sections with ‘documentary styled’ footage of the main characters in the film being interviewed about Lenny’s life. It flashs back and forth between the interviews and the times that the interviews are discussing. Hoffman also said that the voice of the interviewer in the film is actually Bob Fosse.
I have not gone and looked for recordings of the real Lenny Bruce, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of his portrayal in the film, but his performance is very compelling. Valerie Perrine, who plays Honey Bruce is fantastic as well. I found her performance very moving and would like to see her in something else.
I read a few reviews of this film from 1974, and over all it was not particularly well received by critics, but I think that maybe it was just so close to the time of the real Lenny Bruce’s death and peoples thoughts and views about him were still so fresh. I would recommend the film.