Lenny: Imprint Collection #286 [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Australia - Via Vision
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (1st March 2024).
The Film

"Lenny," directed by Bob Fosse, is a compelling cinematic exploration of the tumultuous life and career of the iconic stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce. Released in 1974, the film delves into the controversial and groundbreaking nature of Bruce's comedy, as well as the societal and legal challenges he faced during his career.

One of the standout elements of "Lenny" is its fearless approach to portraying the complexity of Bruce's character. Dustin Hoffman delivers a remarkable performance, capturing Bruce's wit, charisma, and the underlying vulnerability that defined his persona. The film skillfully navigates the fine line between celebrating Bruce's genius and exposing the darker aspects of his life, including his struggles with drug addiction and clashes with censorship.

Fosse's direction is masterful, employing innovative techniques that mirror the edginess of Bruce's comedy. The use of non-linear storytelling, quick cuts, and interwoven interviews adds a dynamic layer to the narrative, providing the audience with a multifaceted view of Bruce's life. Fosse successfully recreates the ambiance of the 1950's and 1960's, immersing viewers in the cultural and social context that shaped Bruce's career.

The film's exploration of freedom of speech and artistic expression remains highly relevant. Bruce's battles with censorship and legal repercussions serve as a poignant commentary on the delicate balance between artistic freedom and societal norms. "Lenny" prompts viewers to reflect on the enduring struggle for free expression and the role of provocative art in challenging the status quo.

The supporting cast, including Valerie Perrine as Bruce's wife, Honey, adds depth to the narrative. Perrine delivers a standout performance, capturing the complexity of Honey's relationship with Bruce and the toll his lifestyle takes on their marriage. The chemistry between Hoffman and Perrine contributes significantly to the emotional resonance of the film.

Despite its many strengths, "Lenny" may be criticized for its unflinching portrayal of Bruce's life, which at times feels overwhelmingly bleak. The film's unapologetic approach might alienate some viewers seeking a more uplifting or romanticized depiction of the comedian's legacy. However, this choice aligns with Fosse's commitment to authenticity and a refusal to romanticize the challenges Bruce faced.

"Lenny" stands as a bold and thought-provoking biographical drama that honors the legacy of Lenny Bruce. Bob Fosse's directorial prowess, coupled with Dustin Hoffman's transformative performance, creates a cinematic experience that is both challenging and rewarding. The film serves as a testament to the enduring relevance of Bruce's contributions to comedy and the ongoing struggle for artistic freedom.


Imprint has licensed the 2015 transfer that was created by MGM for the Twilight Time release. Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen and in high definition 1080p 24/fps and mastered using AVC MPEG-4 compression codec. The image looks true and well presented, retaining the inherent grain from the black and white photography. The blacks are decently bold, whites look good, and the greyscale looks natural. Detail is well maintained and the overall image looks clean from most imperfections aside from a few specks that pop up but these can be forgiven given the age of the film.


A single audio track is presented in English LPCM 2.0 mono, the film's original audio and it holds up fairly well for a mono track. Dialogue sound clear, there are no noticeable issues like hiss, pops, or audio drop outs. The score comes alive despite the limited range of the audio track, overall it is a decent audio track, no complaints here. Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired.


Imprint has released this film with a decent array of supplements, below is a closer look.

The first of two audio commentaries is by film historian/filmmaker Daniel Kremer and filmmaker Henry Jaglom, newly recorded in 2023, this track offers some brilliant insight into the film, it's director, and on it's complicated and controversial subject. Worthy of exploration, this track is a welcomed new addition.

The second audio commentary features film historians Nick Redman and Julie Kirgo, from 2015 and carried over from the now out of print Twilight Time release, these two always offer excellent tracks that cover the history of the film's production and offer some insight into the making of the film and the impact it had.

Next up is "Dead Neon: The Many Faces of Lenny Bruce on Film" a 2023 featurette (29:04) and takes a deep dive into the life and career of the controversial stand up.

"On Fosse Time: Editing Lenny" is a 2023 interview with Alan Heim (22:17), the film's editor takes us through the process of cutting the film, the use of the in-camera interview segments, the non-linear process, and on working with Fosse.

Trailer with commentary by Robert Weide from Trailers From Hell (4:28), the filmmaker who also made a documentary about Bruce offers his comments on the the film's trailer.

The disc also includes the film's original theatrical trailer.


Packaged in a keep case housed in a side-loading slip-case. Limited Edition of 1500 copies.


The Film: A Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: A Overall: B+


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