I’ve been reading the reviews of the new movie J. Edgar and I am surprised to learn that some of the critics are panning it. For example: this review. To me, J. Edgar is one of the best movies ever made, if not THE best. The problem is that the story of J. Edgar is told through the eyes of the director, 81-year-old Clint Eastwood. Younger people may not agree with Eastwood’s interpretation of events.
Here is a quote from another review:
It’s the graying Hoover we meet first, dictating his somewhat suspect memoir to a series of young agent-stenographers because he feels that “it’s time this generation learned my side of the story.”
That story begins with a rarely examined event in American history, the 1919 Palmer raids against anarchists and other supposed radicals. In response to a series of bombings, U.S. Atty. Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer in effect took the law into his own hands, collaborating with the 24-year-old Hoover and the newly formed FBI to attack people for their ideas without evidence of crimes. It’s the first of several examples we see in the film of what can happen when unchecked governmental power falls into the hands of the ruthless and the self-righteous, when influential people believe, as Hoover did, that “sometimes you need to bend the rules a little to keep our country safe.”
There is an early scene in the movie when Emma Goldman, a famous anarchist and radical, is shown in court where she refuses to answer questions. In 1919, she was just out of prison after serving a two year sentence for “conspiring to induce men not to register for the draft.” Not a single review, that I have read, mentioned the Emma Goldman character. Why is Emma Goldman important? Emma Goldman was deported to Russia because America didn’t want Bolsheviks, anarchists and radicals back in those days. If she were alive today, Emma would be leading the Occupy Wall Street movement and she would be a hero to the progressives.
Before I went to see the movie on Friday, I imagined that the plot would dwell on the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr. They were included, but the most important plot thread was the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby in March 1932. In one scene of the movie, the discovery of the body of the 18-month-old baby is shown. The body was decomposed and nothing was left but a skeleton; it was found near a road and within sight of the house. There is a brief moment when the skeleton is shown with the white Lindbergh house visible in the background. The movie does not show, nor mention, that any effort had been made to bury the body. Who kills a baby and then leaves the evidence behind, where it can easily be found? (more…)