Director: Bob Fosse
Year Released: 1979
Strikingly ambivalent - and actually quite essential - view of showbiz by the hard-smoking, hard-drinking Fosse, who lived and loved more in his 60 years than many could do in two lifetimes. His alter-ego, played by Roy Scheider, works to the point of exhaustion (relying on a steady supply of uppers and cigarettes), flipping back and forth between directing dancers for a Broadway show and putting the finishing touches on his film Lenny (which had gone way over-budget) and trying to manage his fractured human relationships - unlike Fellini's Marcello in 8½, he's not so much lost in his dreams and unable to create some semblance of order but rather tortured by the idea of not turning out quality 'art' and being a failure. The musical numbers offset the misery and depression and the director's indulgence (its point is made well before it's over) but it really is as raw a self-portrait of an artist as a self-doubting, sometimes loathsome man as the cinema's produced. By the end, "Fosse's" burned out and more or less prepared to tap-dance his way to that Stage in the Sky.