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The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  December 1977 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 364 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 4 critic

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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Wainwright ...
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Lionel McCoy
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Florence Hollister
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Dwight Webb
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Carrie DeWitt (as Roneé Blakley)
Howard Da Silva ...
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Dave Hindley
Michael Sacks ...
Raymond St. Jacques ...
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Hoover's Mother
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The files that escaped the shredder have become an incredible motion picture. From the Kennedys to Martin Luther King. From cab drivers to Congressmen. From housewives to hostesses. He had something on 58 million people. It was all in his files. Now you can see how he used it.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

F.B.I. Arquivo Secreto  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Jack Cassidy's final film, issued one year after his death at age 49. See more »

Quotes

Lionel McCoy: [sarcastically] Give my regards to the Wizard of Oz!
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Connections

Referenced in This Week in Horror: It's Alive! (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolute Power Corrupts
24 June 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

That particular phrase from Lord Acton about absolute power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely is always the one that brings to mind J. Edgar Hoover and his Federal Bureau of Investigation. And it's altogether fitting and proper we should describe the FBI as his, seeing as how he ran it for 48 years and under 8 presidents.

I am glad that they showed that Hoover came into the Bureau as a reformer. It was a patronage cesspool under previous directors, in fact it had existed for 17 years before J. Edgar Hoover took over and had four previous directors. Hoover did do those kinds of reforms, made it a merit based agency given his ideas of what was meritorious. He set up a national fingerprint data base, something one can't conceive of in law enforcement now. And certainly the FBI did do yeoman service in apprehending and eliminating some of the well known gangsters of the twenties and thirties.

If Hoover had retired in 1945 with the close of World War II his historic reputation would be just about where it was in 1945. Sad to say he didn't, he got heady with power because he had dirt on everybody who was anybody in any field you want to name. That's intoxicating stuff.

I've never thought of Hoover as gay, a crossdresser or anything else in a sexual way. I think the man just had a low sex drive. A lot of that was rumors put about by enemies. He certainly made a legion of them. If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, than Hoover never tasted those kind of rewards.

Broderick Crawford does a good job as the implacable and austere Hoover, however the film is essentially a one dimensional look at a most complex man. If Hoover was gay, his relationship with Clyde Tolson is handled most discreetly even five years after Hoover died.

This turned out to be the farewell film performance of Dan Dailey who played Tolson. Tolson apparently could smooth a lot of Hoover's rough edges out and on at least one occasion the film shows Tolson saving the publicity minded Hoover from a real public relations disaster.

A lot of familiar players dot the cast of The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover so if you're a stargazer you'll like the film. Still Hoover's long and varied career over some tumultuous American history requires a better study than this.


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