Martin Scorsese's Restored King Of Comedy Will Close Tribeca

I’m not sure what it means that the most exciting news I’ve heard about this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is the programming of a brilliant film that’s been around for three decades. Perhaps it says something about the Tribeca slate revealed so far, but mainly, it speaks to the incredible power of Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, which will close this year’s festival with a Saturday screening on April 27. (Click here for tickets if you think you’ll be in Manhattan and want to attend.)

Scorsese’s magnificent commentary on our society’s crippling need to be “famous” (and the pitch-black cynicism that infects most who’ve become famous) will be restored through a partnership with The Film Foundation, Regency Enterprises and 20th Century Fox. The 1983 comedy stars Robert De Niro as Rupert Pupkin, a mild-mannered nobody who dreams of hosting a talk show modeled after the “great” Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis, playing a slightly distorted version of himself). The movie was ahead of the curve when it comes to today’s everyone-is-a-celebrity culture. But The King of Comedy is simply worth seeing because De Niro is blisteringly sympathetic and Paul D. Zimmerman’s screenplay is nothing short of genius.

Of the restoration, Scorsese says in a release:

“Making the picture was quite an experience. We had Sandra Bernhard in her debut. We had New York in summer. We had the beautiful Diahnne Abbott. We had all those wonderful guest stars like Tony Randall and Victor Borge and Ed Herlihy and Dr. Joyce Brothers, and the people who were really in the business, like Freddy De Cordova and Ed Scherick. We had my mother, and my father, and my daughter Cathy. We even had The Clash in a couple of shots, in the role of ‘street trash.’ And, we had a living legend, the great Jerry Lewis. I’m so happy that after all this time, The King of Comedy is finally getting a restoration, from our wonderful friends at Fox.”

Tribeca actually will have a number of contemporary screenings worth checking out, from Richard Linklater’s festival hit Before Midnight to a musical documentary about The National. But it’s the inclusion of The King Of Comedy that would have me going out of my way to attend this year’s fest. Here’s a vintage trailer to give you an idea of how fantastic the movie is:

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.