Lenny (1974)

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Released 9-Jun-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1974
Running Time 106:33
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:13) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bob Fosse
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Dustin Hoffman
Valerie Perrine
Jan Miner
Stanley Beck
Frankie Man
Rashel Novikoff
Gary Morton
Guy Rennie
Michele Yonge
Kathryn Witt
Monroe Myers
John DiSanti
Mickey Gatlin
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Ralph Burns


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Greek
Hungarian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The life story of American comedian Lenny Bruce, from the time in 1954 when he met his stripper wife, to the end of his life. Lenny Bruce was a stand-up comedian who pushed the barriers of comedy material, until the barriers came back to hit him in the face. He faced years of prosecution for indecency, until he ran out of money to defend himself with and (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) died from an overdose of morphine in 1966, which the film implies was a suicide. The material seems quite tame today. If Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy had performed in this era, they probably would have received the death penalty.

    This is an excellent film, which does not wallow in the drug problems of Bruce and his wife Honey. The film was made by Bob Fosse, and is brilliantly directed and edited, especially in the early sequences. The black and white cinematography of Bruce Surtees is also superb, looking much better than most black and white films made since.

    But the real attraction of this film is the superb acting. Dustin Hoffman has never been better, making us believe that he really is Lenny Bruce, not an actor playing him. Although questions have been raised that this is not really what Bruce was like, it is still a powerful performance and more deserving of awards than the two films for which he won his Oscars. Valerie Perrine is also superb as Honey in her best film performance. There are no other "name" actors in the cast, with the action concentrating on the relationship between Lenny and Honey, as recalled in interviews with Honey, Lenny's mother and his agent with an unseen interviewer, and commented on in Greek Chorus style by grabs from Bruce's routines.

    A fine film and well worth seeking out, though sensitive viewers should be warned that there are plenty of four letter words and use of racial epithets.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is quite sharp and clear, with a good level of detail visible. Whites are bright and blacks are rich, though not always completely black. Shadow detail is good.

    There is some minor aliasing occasionally, with moire effect visible on some of those patterned suits, but otherwise the only noticeable artefacts in the transfer are blacks which have a pale sheen, and some ghosting visible in some of the darkest scenes.

    Film artefacts are more prominent, with a lot of minor nicks and marks which show up as white spots. There are some sequences that are quite free of these distractions, but more often than not they appear regularly.

    Optional subtitles are provided, and the English versions are quite clear and close to the dialogue. One annoyance is that a message written on a mirror at 15:33 is captioned, even when subtitles are turned off. This is obviously not part of the original film, and as I found that I could read the message easily the caption should only have appeared when subtitles were on.

    The film is presented on a RSDL-formatted disc, with the layer change positioned at 55:13 during a quiet scene and is unobtrusive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are audio tracks in various languages, all Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. English is of course the default language.

    Dialogue is clear and audio sync seems good. Despite being mono, the audio sounds fine, with only some occasional harshness during louder passages. Given the nature of the audio track, there really is no need for a stereo or surround mix.

    There is no music score as such, with the only music originating from the performers in the various clubs that Lenny and his wife work in. Some of these play jazz music, which is taken from recordings of Miles Davis.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (3:24)

    The sole extra is a British home video trailer in 1.33:1, in not very good condition.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US Region 1 disc seems the same as the Region 4, apart from the inclusion of a pan and scan version on the other side of the disc. The UK Region 2 seems to be identical to the Region 4.

Summary

    A fine film, well worth the cost of the disc.

    The video is pretty good.

    The audio is satisfactory.

    The sole extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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