The King of Comedy
Not Scorsese’s biggest hit on first release, but this film is our favourite from this director, and its reputation with fans and critics alike seems to be growing, and it was surely a major influence on 2019’s Joker (with De Niro in that movie playing the chat show host rather than the guest).
This is a dark yet very funny take on celebrity, made decades before that topic became so current.
De Niro is great as the wannabe comedian Rupert Pupkin, but the film’s revelation is the realistic and slightly chilling performance from a real-life king of comedy, Jerry Lewis, as chat show host Jerry Langford, taken hostage by the deluded Pupkin and his best friend, Rita (another marvellous performance, this time from Sandra Bernhard). This film bears watching, then watching again.
This is the original US One Sheet cinema poster for The King of Comedy, with wonderfully evocative artwork of the King and the Joker.