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The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover Details


Larry Cohen's pseudo-biography of J. Edgar Hoover (Broderick Crawford) was virtually howled off the screens upon its release in 1977. Today, with the cross-dressing Hoover so much a matter of historical record that even Oliver Stone didn't bother to make too much of a point of it in Oliver Stone, the Cohen film plays more like a dramatic re-enactment rather than the puerile paranoid fantasy it appeared to be at the time. Unfortunately, Cohen's method is part exploitation and part historical tableau. On the one hand, Cohen dramatizes historical moments in Hoover's momentous life story -- the shooting of John Dillinger in front of Chicago's Biograph Theater, his first arrest -- with a deadening solemnity (even abandoning the backlot facsimiles to shoot on the actual historical locations). On the other hand, Cohen relishes his scenes of Hoover's homosexuality and his propensity for sitting in the dark with a bottle of whiskey, replaying tapes of the amorous liaisons of high government officials -- the decadently homosexual Hoover built his political power base by getting all the dirt he could on the government's movers and shakers -- particularly their sexual liaisons -- and blackmailing them for their support when he could not get it in any other way. A true schizophrenic masterwork in its time, the film is now muted by a reality more incredible than Cohen ever imagined in his wildest dreams. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi


Broderick Crawford
as J. Edgar Hoover
José Ferrer
as Lionel McCoy
Michael Parks
as Robert F. Kennedy
Ronee Blakley
as Carrie DeWitt
Rip Torn
as Dwight Webb
Celeste Holm
as Florence Hollister
Michael Sacks
as Melvin Purvis
Dan Dailey
as Clyde Tolson
Raymond St. Jacques
as Martin Luther King, Jr.
John Marley
as Dave Hindley
Howard Da Silva
as Franklin D. Roosevelt
June Havoc
as Hoover's Mother
James Wainwright
as Young Hoover
Lloyd Nolan
as Attorney General Stone
Ellen Barber
as FBI Secretary
Lloyd Gough
as Walter Winchell
Brad Dexter
as Alvin Karpis
Jennifer Lee
as Ethel Brunette
George Plimpton
as Quentin Reynolds
Jack Cassidy
as Damon Runyon
E.G. Marshall
Andrew Duggan
as Lyndon B. Johnson


Larry Cohen
Larry Cohen
Larry Cohen
Paul Glickman
Miklos Rozsa
Composer (Music Score)
Chris Lebenzon
Peter Sabiston
Associate Producer
Artie Mandelberg
Associate Producer
Carolyn Loewenstein
Set Designer
Lewis Friedman
Costume Designer