Off Topic Messages

Jerry Lewis' "The King Of Comedy" in the 4/21 NY Post

Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:07 pm ... BZWrlnHxNJ

The last laugh

Restored for the Tribeca Film Festival, “The King of Comedy” is embraced 30 years after its release
Last Updated: 11:57 PM, April 20, 2013
Posted: 9:25 PM, April 20, 2013

During the making of the Martin Scorsese classic “The King of Comedy,” a 30th anniversary restoration that closes the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night, star Robert De Niro prepared to shoot one scene by suddenly, without provocation, hurling anti-Semitic insults at co-star Jerry Lewis.

So brutal was his tirade, Lewis told People Magazine in 1983, that De Niro ended by screaming that the Jews have “turned this world into garbage for 5,000 years.”

Of course, acting icon and Tribeca festival co-founder De Niro is no Mel Gibson. He was simply invoking The Method to ensure that Lewis had the requisite amount of anger — their next scene required Lewis to go off on him.

Jerry Lewis, left, and Robert De Niro in “The King of Comedy.”

“I forgot the cameras were there,” said Lewis, who also noted that De Niro refused to have dinner with him while shooting, asking how they could possibly enjoy a meal together when De Niro’s character wanted to blow Lewis’ head off.

“The King of Comedy” starred De Niro as Rupert Pupkin, an aspiring comedian who first admires, then stalks and kidnaps, popular talk-show host Jerry Langford, who was played by Lewis.

A box-office flop with lukewarm reviews upon its release — it failed to even make the list of Top 100 film grosses for 1983 — the film has grown in critical stature with age. One Fox publicist Tweeted earlier this year that the studio was working on a Blu-ray release but did not give a date.

When Scorsese was originally offerred the film, he didn’t get it.

“I’m not an actor,” Scorsese said in an interview featured on the film’s DVD, released in 2002. “I’m not in the public eye, and I wasn’t living with the same scrutiny.”

But when he gave the script to De Niro, the actor understood it immediately.

“I remember walking somewhere with Bob [De Niro] and Marty not long after Reagan had been shot, and Bob was a little skittish about things,” says executive producer Bobby Greenhut. “He had some jitters about being the subject of a stalker. I remember him saying, ‘I’m looking over my shoulder. Someone’s gonna be running up with a gun.’ ”

Longtime celebrity Jerry Lewis, “understood it without even reading it,” according to Scorsese.

Yet he was far from the first choice for the role of Langford.

Scorsese first offered the part to Johnny Carson, who turned it down.

Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra and the entire Rat Pack were also considered before Scorsese settled on Lewis, whose experience as longtime host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon gave him unique insight into the role of TV host.

While Lewis was a smart choice for the part, he had a reputation.

“There was so much trepidation about Jerry,” says Greenhut. “He has this tremendous baggage of being very difficult, a real loose cannon and unreliable.”

Certainly, he sometimes gave co-star Sandra Bernhard a tough time. “I was most intimdated by Jerry. [He] wasn’t always very nice on set. He’d say things like, ‘Hey, fish lips.’ Probably made me feel a little bad at the time.”

But Lewis knew how to charm his public.

“One day we were on Park Avenue doing a shot, and he was lighting a cigarette,” says producer Greenhut. “Somebody had given him this prop lighter, which shot out a six-foot flame like something you’d find at Ringling Brothers. He lit his cigarette with it, and everybody was laughing. There’d be a crowd around, and he would tell jokes, hug pedestrians.”

Lewis remained outgoing and friendly on-set even when Scorsese and De Niro’s process made him bristle.

Lewis was used to filming scenes in just one or two takes. Scorsese and De Niro would film countless takes of seemingly inconsequential scenes.

“When I saw Take 29 for a scene with no words, just walking from a theater mob to a limo, I said, ‘We’re in a mess,’ ” Lewis told People. “I never saw the number 29 before in my career!”

However, as the film took form, he came to admire De Niro’s technique.

“Take 1, Bobby’s getting oriented,” Lewis says. “By 10, you’re watching magic, and in Take 15, you’re seeing genius.”

And now that genius has been restored, we want to see those kings of comedy all over again.

Re: Jerry Lewis' "The King Of Comedy" in the 4/21 NY Post

Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:26 pm

Thanks for sharing the article, elvis4life!

DVD >> ... erry+lewis

Re: Jerry Lewis' "The King Of Comedy" in the 4/21 NY Post

Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:04 am ... se_3633418

Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis and Martin Scorsese Reunite For King Of Comedy Screening At Tribeca Film Festival
29 April 2013

Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis and Martin Scorsese reunited for the 30th anniversary screening of The King of Comedy for the Tribeca Film Festival over the weekend.

The King of Comedy is thirty years old and to celebrate the momentous anniversary, the star of the mad-cap kidnap comedy Robert De Niro decided to air a special screening of the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday (April 27). De Niro, who co-founded the film fest with Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff twelve years ago, attended the anniversary screening alongside the movie's director, Martin Scorsese and his co-star in the movie, the legendary Jerry Lewis.

Robert De Niro at the start of the film festival last week

The three reunited on stage at the Borough of Manhattan Community College before the screening to deliver a few preliminary laughs prior to the feature presentation, with De Niro admitting that he hasn't seen the film in "at least 25 years," saying after, "I'm very curious to see it. If I'm not too embarrassed, I'll stay here after."

After the show, De Niro managed to escape the blushes of embarassment and was full of praise for his co-star and director, telling the audience "I do look at it in a different way. I think Jerry was terrific," adding, "The stuff that Marty did as well. It was great to watch." However, Martin wasn't as balled over this time round, humorously asking "It wasn't a comedy, was it?"

As well as a few rounds of self-congratulations, Tribeca also honoured a few new films last week, with Kim Mordaunt's Laos-based tale of a lost boy in The Rocket winning the audience award for narrative feature. Meanwhile, the audience award for documentary went to Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's same-sex marriage argument Bridegroom.

De Niro has been trying to become the King of Comedy for real in recent years.

Re: Jerry Lewis' "The King Of Comedy" in the 4/21 NY Post

Wed May 01, 2013 6:24 am

Thanks for the article! Jerry is still great, still keepin' on, keepin' on . . . despite everything.

Brilliant, brutal film - unforgettable. I would love to see it in HD. But Amazon doesn't seem to have a Blu-Ray, at this time. Nor Amazon Instant Video, either. I'll look on Google Play.

Yes, they have it, but not HD, either. $2.99 rental.

It shows up on your YouTube channel/account, including your "YouTube Leanback" on your Smart TV, if you have one.


Re: Jerry Lewis' "The King Of Comedy" in the 4/21 NY Post

Wed May 01, 2013 7:05 am