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Evocateur: Morton Downey Jr Movie [Blu-ray]

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Editorial Reviews

In the late '80s, the masses fixated on a single, sociopathic star. Morton Downey Jr. tore apart the traditional talk format by turning debate of current issues into a gladiator pit.

His blow-smoke-in-your-face style drew a rabid cult following, but also the title "Father of Trash Television."

Product Details

  • Actors: Gloria Allred, Michele Bachmann
  • Directors: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 3, 2013
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DI01382
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,382 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Although shock type tv or reality shows where the host gets in guests' faces and jeers at them (or even goes way beyond that) make me cringe, this film sheds much light on Morton Downey Jr's appeal - and why he made headlines regularly - although his fame lasted a relatively short time. The filmmakers, former fans of Downey, have created an intriguing perspective, one that doesn't totally flatter the man or condemn him. Both views are included.

I actually remember seeing Downey's show when it was still being aired. The filmmakers have definitely captured the essence of those shows as well as an in depth look at Downey's place in television history. I had somehow forgotten the details of his aggressive (rabid might be more accurate) and intense persona. A chain smoker, he would puff away while assessing his audiences and guests.

He'd also ramp up audience energy (they didn't need much encouragement) until many would be yelling and insulting the guests along with him. Downey's bullying and taunts set the wave for shock jocks and other incendiary television hosts to come. Viewing the faces of those in his audiences reveals just how easily he could tap into their anger and turn it from a simmering undercurrent into a full boil.

Even if you watched every one of his shows when they were on air, this film includes clips and footage which have never been seen before - as well as intriguing animation in sections. This is a chance to see early reality television, a must for anyone interested in how it all began - and evolved. Along the way, the filmmakers reveal not only how Downey drew a following but his missteps and eventual fall. I'm not an expert in social or television history so I can't say that Downey was THE trendsetter for this type of television.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sheryl Fechter on November 8, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
The Morton Downey Jr. show debuted in 1987 in New York City to his ranting; "The morality of this country is on a low ebb and getting lower" [audience screaming] "What are YOU gonna do about it?" [audience on their feet screaming]. Downey Jr. definitely knew how to incite a riot and created the first mob mentality in his followers. People couldn't wait to tune in and see what he would say next, how far he would go, and how badly he could insult, shock and infuriate his own guests. The ongoing question is still; "Was it all real or staged?" One was never sure if it was partially set up, all set up, or altogether real. This intrigued his audiences into its speedy syndication and tuned in America.

Seemingly now, these are pretty pervasive; reality shows are on most every channel but they had a pioneer - A pioneer with no limits and no boundaries. Many people even saw his rabid audience as frightening and consequently called it "The Beast". He was that outrageous; wholeheartedly agreeing with his participants then immediately turning around to mercilessly attack them. All the while purporting he was "the voice for all of those who go unheard". Who appeared to go unheard was actually his own daughter. During the film she weighs in constantly about the fear she had of even viewing her father's show as she did not know him this way at home. He was two very different personas, on air and off.

Morton Downey Jr. came from very diverse parents. His father was quite a successful singer and entertainer in his generation. 'Sean' (Morton Jr.) struggled to make good by his father while never proving himself to the level he had reached. Downey Sr. being the voice of the '30's and Jr. being the very loud voice of the late '80's, theirs was a very strained relationship.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. L LaRegina on September 28, 2013
Format: DVD
The 2013 documentary EVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY, JUNIOR, MOVIE depicts the trash television talk show host's rapid rise and fast fall. Living in New Jersey my whole life, I had forgotten THE MORTON DOWNEY, JR., SHOW, which originated on a Secaucus, N.J., station, did not even last two years. But, as this film depicts, the important thing to remember is that Downey broke the television shame barrier. While guest-attacking shows such as HOT SEAT with Wally George were limited to U.H.F. channels, THE MORTON DOWNEY, JR., SHOW moved that format to V.H.F. television, where Downey often asked a question of and insulted someone in the same breath.

An unchallenged, incorrect remark of one EVOCATEUR interview subject claims television's DONAHUE show, which ran from 1967 to 1996 and popularized the audience-centered T.V. interview program format still in vogue as I write this in September 2013, avoided provocative topics. Obviously that person did not see DONAHUE often, missing broadcasts with guests such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Moore, and Pete Rose, to name three controversial individuals I recall seeing on the show. The first-ever DONAHUE guest was Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

The many DONAHUE imitators that followed would seek arguments, too, but much more often with guests of whom you have not heard because they are regular people fighting over paternity tests, marital infidelity, and other salacious nonsense. DONAHUE was about topics that aroused passionate debate. Its copycats skipped the topics in favor of trailer trash love triangles, passion with no point. Sure, Muhammad Ali polarized people with his refusal to be inducted into military service and his DONAHUE appearance made for compelling television.
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Evocateur: Morton Downey Jr Movie [Blu-ray]
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