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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

THE KING OF COMEDY

12:30   2:45   5:10   7:30   9:45

Final Day - Thursday, June 30

Directed by Martin Scorsese.

Starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis

(1982) “Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.” Robert De Niro’s terminally unfunny Rupert Pupkin, consumed by his dream of TV stardom, rehearses nightly in his basement studio, flanked by life-sized cut-outs of guest super-stars. But then there’s the nuclear option: Rupert, aided by henchgirl Sandra Bernhard (the standup comic in a memorably abrasive tour de force), kidnaps his idol, TV icon Jerry Lewis’s Jerry Langford. The ransom? A ten-minute guest spot on Jerry’s late-night talk show. DCP. Restored digitally in 4K from the original camera negatives at Sony Colorworks. John Polito at Audio Mechanics completed the digital restoration of the soundtrack. Restored in association with The Film Foundation, Regency Enterprises and Twentieth Century Fox. Approx. 109 mins.

A NEW REGENCY RELEASE

Reviews

“CRUELLY LUCID, AGONIZINGLY SYMPATHETIC. Scorsese infuses this tale with the passionate energy of New York street life and an outsider’s wonder at the powerful workings of show business and studio craft.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“AHEAD OF ITS TIME. Robert De Niro gives a fearless performance.”
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“A DARING TONAL EXPERIMENT. A key influence for scores of modern comedians. Its anti-comic style is all over today’s alt-comedy landscape. If you’ve not seen it, correct that post haste.”
– Jason Bailey, Flavorwire 

“Whether it’s Tim and Eric, whether it’s Adult Swim, whether it’s videos for College Humor, the Galifianakis TV show, [its influence is] all over. The humor in discomfort I think is extremely common. You would find it with Andy Kaufman in the ‘70s but to have a character like Rupert Pupkin as a lead character, one that you associate with, who is not only is a horrible person but a horrible comic. I think that’s just astonishing…[Sandra Bernhard’s] role was the most punk, unhinged role that I had ever seen up until that point, even to this day.”
— Mike Sacks, author of comedy history Here’s the Kicker

“AN UNSPARING LOOK AT DESPERATION AND ENTITLEMENT THAT STILL LEAVES A BRUISE...brilliantly keeps viewers unmoored, the result of its consistently off-kilter tone. Though filled with sight gags and corny jokes, the movie is also darkened by genuine menace.”
– Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice 

“A PROPHETIC MASTERPIECE!” 
– Time Out New York

“[Scorsese’s] greatest film is still one of his least applauded… The King of Comedy has more to say about the parlous state of modern celebrity culture than any other movie I can call to mind. As the borderline psychopath Rupert Pupkin, De Niro channels the most terrifying elements of Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle, his delusional (and supposedly humorous) ‘at home’ monologues every bit as alarming as Bickle’s oft-quoted ‘You talkin' to me?’ tirade. Perfectly pitched between satire and horror, The King of Comedy finds both its director and star working at the peak of their powers – the dramatic punch of the piece being strengthened by understatement, by the fact that neither director nor star are grandstanding.”
– Mark Kermode, The Guardian

“Rupert Pupkin may be one of the most original, and alarming, creations in the work of Martin Scorsese. Bearing a massive, unfocused good nature rather in the way a parade float might be carrying an ICBM, he charges through American media society of yesteryear armed and crippled with his certainty that the celebrities know him in the way he knows them. Rupert is crass; he dresses very badly; he hardly listens to people who are talking to him; and he could bring the whole world tumbling down. He leaves us longing for the days when Travis Bickle was the most dangerous fellow you might meet out there on the streets.”
– David Thompson

“De Niro’s Pupkin isn’t merely socially inadequate; he’s a whole dimension short — happily rehearsing with cardboard cut-outs, choosing the flatness of videoscreen space for his schmucky jester’s tilt at being ‘king for a night’. Whereas the film itself is all unexpected dimensions and unsettling excesses, with the ambiguous fulfillment of Pupkin’s dream frighteningly echoing the news-headline coda of Taxi Driver.”
– Time Out (London)

“Has quietly emerged as one of the director’s best films. A wonderful opportunity to see Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Jerry Lewis, and in a show stopping performance, Sandra Bernhard at their best.”
– Earl Douglas, The Interrobang