The King of Comedy

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Martin Scorsese's 1983 movie about an aspiring comic (Robert De Niro) who kidnaps a talk-show host (Jerry Lewis) is clearly an extension of Taxi Driver—both in its themes of obsession and its ambiguous stylistic mixture of fantasy and reality. But the shift in archetypes from Catholic to Jewish, plus the visual shift from extravagant expressionism to flat, overlit TV images, radically alters the point of view; you feel for the first time that Scorsese has gained some distance himself from his characters. The uncenteredness of the film is disconcerting, though in an ambitious, risk-taking way. You'd better see for yourself. With Diahnne Abbott and Sandra Bernhard. A 35mm presentation.

Director Martin Scorsese.  109 mins, Rated PG.