Jerry Lewis once directed and starred in a film called The Day the Clown Cried, a drama about a circus clown in a Holocaust concentration camp. It ended up being so bad and tone-deaf (by Lewis’ own admission) that it has never been released. Not all funnymen can easily replace the comedy mask with the tragedy one, but Robin Williams has always been so adept at both that you could argue his dramatic roles have trumped his comedic ones — from the start of his film career, with The World According to Garp, through Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King, and then Good Will Hunting, which won him an Oscar.
One Hour Photo (2002, 1 hr., 36 mins., R) features Williams’ most recent great, serious performance and is now available on Blu-ray in a new special edition. As Sy Parrish, a lonely photo tech in a purgatorially fluorescent big-box store who obsesses over the family of one of his customers, he eliminates the manic energy and genial warmth that are his trademarks. The film itself is a bit pat and antiseptic, but Williams is by turns frightening and pitiable. You can see how he crafted the character in the disc’s new EXTRAS, which include a number of interesting behind-the-scenes cast rehearsals. It really makes you wish Williams would do the whole tears-of-a-clown thing more often. B+