The Movie: Lenny (1974)
What Is It?: Bob Fosse made his name in musical theater as an actor, dancer and choreographer, and his cinematic work followed suit when he directed and choreographed the musicals Sweet Charity and Cabaret. A biopic about a comedian may seem an odd choice for Fosse’s third directorial effort. It all makes sense when you see it. Lenny is a musical without a single musical number. Everything from the editing to the actors’ movements appears expertly choreographed, the rhythms flowing from one potentially jarring time jump to the next with the abandon and perfection of a John Coltrane riff. Dustin Hoffman as Bruce and Valerie Perrine as his wife give landmark performances: Hoffman’s final contempt-of-court monologue is one of the truest things on film, and Perrine’s interview sequences don’t betray a splinter of artifice.
Why Today?: Today is National Tell a Joke Day.