The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, June 22-28

Jerry Lewis and Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s THE KING OF COMEDY (1983). Courtesy Film Forum. Playing Friday, June 24 - Thursday, June 30. The King of Comedy (1982)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
A belated twin to Taxi Driver, and the missing link between The Shining and Larry Sanders. In scouring-brush mustache and a ghastly succession of leisure suits, De Niro’s Rupert Pupkin fixates on—and ultimately kidnaps—a Carson-like TV host played by Jerry Lewis. The comic’s performance is one of masterful and astringent stillness, as precisely controlled as the seemingly spontaneous pratfalls and vocal tics that made his reputation, his impassive glare a perpetual rebuke to De Niro’s agitation. This ouroboros of narcissism and neurosis is probably the most austere work of Scorsese’s career; few other films are invested so deeply with Sartre’s admonition, “hell is other people.” Eli Goldfarb (June 24-30 at Film Forum; showtimes daily)


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