Thursday, January 12, 2012
J. Edgar Hoover and The FBI Story
I just finished reading "J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets" by Curt Gentry. Gentry is an amazing author with very detailed books. I read his book "Helter Skelter" about Charles Manson and was highly impressed with his writing style. With J Edgar it was so detailed I checked it out 3 times from the library. I even had to stop reading it for a while because all the names and places and secrets were starting to blur. Hoover was a product of his time. His calculating personality served excellent during the time of the depression, bootleggers, gangsters, and the Communist red scare. But beyond that it shows that Hoover dealt in horse trading, double deals, secret deals, blacklisting, blackmailing, break ins, cover ups, set ups, take downs, paybacks, payoffs and all other means of vindictiveness. Although, Hoover did many great things for the United States he was exactly as John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
So after reading that book I naturally had to watch "The F.B.I Story" with James Stewart and Vera Miles. Although, Stewart wouldn't have been my choice for tough guy agent, I would prefer to see Burt Lancaster or Humphrey Bogart (who sadly passed away 2 years prior) he was well known for biopics. He plays Chip and he does a good job portraying the average man at home, the working husband, whose home-life is directly affected. He narrates many of the "good old days" of the FBI. The captures of many criminals including the Ku Klux Klan, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger and Ma Barker. The story took many liberties to portray these people including giving Ma Barker a Tommy Gun. This was done to justify the FBI killing an elderly lady. And everytime they apprehended a criminal they shouted, "FBI GET YOUR HANDS UP!!!" Lest you forget it's a movie about the G Men. But overall it was a good movie. As much as it could be with telling the truth and history of the FBI and getting the stamp of approval from J. Edgar.
A personal favourite moment of mine is when Stewarts son interrupts the dancing to say, "lets hear some real music" as he puts on the Marine Corps hymn. It was his way of announcing he had enlisted. It was a cute and creative way and I laughed out loud. All in all a good movie to see.