Jan 302014
Public Enemies Era

When outlaws like the Barker-Karpis Gang, the Clyde Barrow Gang, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd began to attract national attention in 1933, the FBI was an under-funded, amateurish organization. A series of celebrity kidnappings and the massacre of four law enforcement officials in Kansas City in June 1933 led to calls for a national police force, and the FBI would lead the war on crime. In 1934, the many bank robbers would be divided into five nice, clear groups: the family of kidnappers, the lovers on the run, the charming escape artist, the psychotic killer and the misunderstood country boy. A year later, almost none of them were still alive and the FBI was a national institution.
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Nov 192012
J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895-May 2, 1972) was the long-serving and controversial director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. John Edgar Hoover joined the Justice Department shortly after the United States entered WWI. Possessing superb organizational skills, Hoover was promoted to head of the Radical Division within the Bureau of Investigation. Rising to Acting Director of the Bureau in 1924, Hoover switched the Bureau’s focus from investigating political organizations to criminals. Faced with a wave of violent bank robberies in 1933, Hoover was placed in charge of an expanded bureau, which captured or killed a number of Public Enemies. Believing that he and he alone should symbolize the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), magazine articles, books and movies portrayed Hoover as having trained the agents.

A national symbol by the end of WWII, Hoover was a lifelong anti-communist, and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-1953) seemed to confirm the global Communist conspiracy. When Dwight Eisenhower became president in 1952, he supported Hoover’s belief that domestic security trumped civil liberties. John F. Kennedy symbolized the shift in cultural values that would take place during the 1960s, and Hoover disliked both the president and the social changes. In fact, Hoover used the FBI to attack any group that threatened the status quo, including Martin Luther King Jr., the anti-war movement, and the Black Panthers, employing wiretapping techniques of dubious legality. Despite a lengthy relationship with Richard Nixon, Hoover’s continued career was uncertain when he died of a heart attack on May 2, 1972. Read More…

Jan 302012
J. Edgar

Rating: ★★½☆☆

J. Edgar is a touching movie about gay lovers when the idea of gay rights did not exist, but the love story takes precedence over the story of a paranoid, narrow-minded bureaucrat who believed that his own patriotism was the ideal and anyone who did not meet his standards was a threat to the nation. Read More…