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The Private Files Of J. Edgar Hoover

4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Actors: Broderick Crawford, Jose Ferrer, Michael Parks, Rip Torn, Celeste Holm
  • Directors: Larry Cohen
  • Writers: Larry Cohen
  • Producers: Larry Cohen
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: January 28, 2011
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004LB5FE0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,127 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This movie is informative with fiction added.The suspense of the movie is portrayed by the facts presented. It's the closest thing to what is likely the truth about J.Edgar Hoover's life you'll find---especially given the onslaught of one-sided written and movie attacks on one (Hoover) who gave a great deal more than most to the country he loved. While many did their best to destroy Hoover's reputation in the aftermath of his death,here,Broderick Crawford portrays Hoover as a great American but human--with his own skeletons in the closet (no pun intended) and who made his share of mistakes. The movie also touches on the lives of other great Americans--John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. One sees that they,just as Hoover,were human,made mistakes and had their skeletons just as we all do. (See the movie's version of the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe). Although much of what we would like to know went to their graves with Hoover,King,the Kennedys and others,this movie is,in many respects,the closest to the truth about Hoover and,to a lesser extent,the Kennedys and King that's been attempted. It will probably anger all who see it,whatever their political slant,to some extent at least,and that fact alone points to the best reason to get this movie and watch it with an open mind.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Casting Broderick Crawford as Hoover was a stroke of genius on the part of the casting director of this film. He's perfect for the part. He brings out the gruffness and arrogance of the character, while simultaneously showing the insecure, low self-esteem inner man that Hoover is portrayed as being.
We see him first as a young idealist, working in the Justice Department, wanting to protect the legal rights of immigrants and fighting the internal corruption of the FBI in the 1920's. Then he becomes the "Top Cop" of the nation and a publicity seeker with the help of Walter Winchell. And finally as an old man jeolously guarding his power and firmly entrenched in the political system. But more importantly, we see the dual nature of his morality: on the one hand, his fastidious approach to sexuality and his ego crushing sensitivity to his own unattractiveness; and on the other hand, his sessions-------bottle in hand--------listening to the sexual encounters on FBI surveillance tapes.
The film is not without humor, however. Look for a scene about disposing of a fly in Hoover's office.
In some ways, a waxworks of a film with actors looking and sounding like famous political leaders, but more importantly a record------part fact, part fiction------of a very complex man, who's personality and inner demons helped to form the concept of justice in the American public's mind from the 1930's until his death.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Private Files Of J. Edgar Hoover (MGM Limited Edition Collection) I just watched this film. It is a powerful story. Although it was a mixture of fact and fiction, the essence of truth rang loudly throughout the movie. Broderick Crawford was an amazing actor who brought J Edgar Hoover to life. This is well worth the money and time to see.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I thought it was very good. I thought Michale Parks did a great convincing role playing Robert Kennedy. Bradford Crawford (the cop of cops)did just as good as Leonardo DeCaprio playing the role of J.Edgar Hoover. Dan Daily did a good job playing Clyde.
I highly recommend the movie .
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Format: DVD
THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER (writ./dir. Larry Cohen, 112 minutes, 1977) is a most delightful albeit slightly dated teleplay. Done in what I call "the late 1970s grand style", this is a perfect representation of the switch from what look like rotten teleplays to honest theatrical film.

Interesting old Hoover lookalike Broderick Cranford avoids loud scene chewing and gets to the nitty-gritty of Hoovers quiet, snakelike power and Hoover's quiet, skillful expression of it. Ostensibly revealing Hoover's secret files contents - though I find that a bit dubious here - the film follows Hoover around and shows us a lot of the places he walked and worked. I was deeply moved by a scene in his youth when a lady put the moves on him. Instead of trying to see how that might work out, he loudly accuses her of trying to entrap him. Weird man.

James Wainright is the even more stunning Hoover lookalike and plays Hoover as a young man. While DiCaprio did it well enough in the recent Oscar-worthy J. Edgar (see my review), I think these people here did a smashing and wonderful job. It was fun seeing a very young Rip Torn playing an FBI agent. I had the chills when I saw first the Kennedy brothers conferring alone (Michael Parks played Robert; incredible lookalike William Jordan played JFK); and later when Robert and Hoover were going at it.

It is amazing what the "old boy network" used to accomplish back in the day. I recall when this film was new, and it blew me away - the locations! Every location you could want, including Hoover's private residence, was open to this production and they utilized it to the fullest. What good fortune, and none of it wasted.
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