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A Shot at the Top: The Making of 'The King of Comedy' (2002)

Documentary about the making of Martin Scorsese's story of a man willing to go to any length for a shot at fame.


Stephen Altobello


Jonah Kaplan


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Credited cast:
Sandra Bernhard ... Herself / Masha
Jerry Lewis ... Himself (archive footage)
Martin Scorsese ... Himself - Director


This made-for-video documentary treats dark comedy fans to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The King of Comedy, Martin Scorsese's 1983 film about a failed comedian so desperate for recognition that he kidnaps the host of a late-night show in order to get his moment of fame. Features interviews with Scorsese and the rest of the cast and crew of the film who share their experiences from working on the project, as well as discuss the special efforts that went into bringing it all together. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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Features The King of Comedy (1982) See more »


Sandra's Blues
Written by John Simon
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Bernhard, Scorcese Give Their Two Cents....And Keep This 'Feature' Interesting
20 August 2007 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This "behind-the-scenes feature" is strictly a two-man show: Director Martin Scorcese and actress Sarah Bernhard. It could have been boring with only those two talking in separate interviews, but it was interesting. Both were insightful about the characters and actors in this bizarre movie.

Scorcese said he originally got the script from Paul Zimmerman in 1974 but, not being a famous actor or personality at the time, couldn't relate to it. After his success with the film "Raging Bull," he could.

Scorcese analyzes the main character "Rupert Pupkin," played so memorably by Robert De Niro (who doesn't like doing interviews so you don't see him much on these DVD features, if at all.).

The director emphasized that hostility was seen in "Pupkin" more than anything throughout the film and he shows some examples through footage in the film.

Bernhard commented she thought this was a "breakout role" for DeNiro who was always this macho kind of guy on film. They comment briefly about Lewis, who, like Bernard, played someone who was like that in real life. She said she was more intimidated working with Lewis than DeNiro, and I got the feeling Lewis is a little standoffish, but I could be wrong.

Bernhard said she did a lot of improvising because that whacked-out character in this film wasn't far off from who she was at the time. She added that this was the last "personal" movie of its kind. "They don't want to make personality-driven movies like this anymore," she added. "This marked kind of an end of an era."

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