The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977)

PG   |    |  Biography, Drama

The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977) Poster

The story of the late J. Edgar Hoover, who was head of the FBI from 1924-1972. The film follows Hoover from his racket-busting days through his reign under eight U.S. presidents.


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Larry Cohen


Larry Cohen

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27 February 2001 | TomReed
A dish-the-dirt, cranked-out cheapie.
I saw this film theatrically (in a revival) and was astonished. It was an attempt to turn Hoover into Citizen Kane, with the supposed "burning" of Hoover's secret files the equivalent of the burning of "Rosebud." Crawford does make an interesting Hoover - considering he was most famous for playing America's first TV cop in "Highway Patrol," seeing him play a deliberately abusive cop is fun. But he's the only actor who pulls off his part convincingly; the other actors look distracted, like they're worried that their paychecks might not clear. The script plods from event to event - blackmail on Roosevelt, Martin Luther King and others - and gets numbing. (The film came out before revelations that Hoover may have been a transvestite and homosexual - seeing Crawford in drag might have provided an extra kick.) Supposedly, this was filmed without official approval around the original FBI headquarters in Washington, which caused some official heat. But aside from that courage, you don't get the feeling of getting inside Hoover's life, which other movies have done. You get the feeling you're being told this story by a gossipy wife under the hair dryer in a salon.

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