DATELINE: 1977 A-I Grand Production
Crawford as Hoover
If Director Hoover were still running the FBI, you know the shenanigans at the White House and during the Trump campaign would be dead in their tracks.
The Private Files of J.Edgar Hoover, 1977’s film by Larry Cohen is still surprisingly relevant today: from Hoover’s dealings with immigrants, terrorists, and campaign laundering of money. You might be amused to hear that Hoover was on the side of right, according to this marvelous little film. In many ways it is more amusing than Eastwood’s version.
Young Hoover is played by James Wainwright—and his best friend is his mother, actress June Havoc in a cameo. The best of the stunning cast includes Jose Ferrer as a dubious underling to Hoover. However, the G-Man couple of the century, Hoover and Clyde Tolson, are played by Broderick Crawford and Dan Dailey, no strangers to whispers and innuendos themselves.
Hoover must deal with Franklin Roosevelt (Howard da Silva) and Bobby Kennedy (Michael Parks). AG Kennedy especially tried to drive Hoover to retirement with great disrespect, but Hoover was a wily old fox. He handled Kennedy and seemed ready to blackmail Martin Luther King (Raymond St. Jacques).
If you like hooting through a movie, this old American International flick has gunfights with Dillinger and mobsters, and TWA hijackers.
The rumors that Tolson and Hoover were a romantic couple is among the highlights of the film, hinting they might have been brave pioneers in gay rights, no less. However, there is no scene of Edgar in a dress. Sorry. All this is secondary to a grandiose performance by the never-shy Broderick Crawford as the Top Cop (never saying 10-4) and his aide-de-camp Dan Dailey.
His secret files kept many people in their place. He had dirt on everyone over 50 years and managed to convince Lyndon Johnson (Andrew Duggan) to extend the retirement age to accommodate the FBI oldster.
More salacious info would come out after the making of this film, but this semi-forgotten movie will do as a bang-up tribute to Edgar.