Variety Reviews - J. Edgar and references Ken's "Women In Love " Nude Wrestling Scene!
"True to Eastwood's understated nature, "J. Edgar" offers the "tasteful" treatment of such potentially salacious subject matter, though a more outre Oliver Stone-like approach might have made for a livelier film. With the exception of a few profanities (enough to land the pic an audience-limiting R rating) and a lone homoerotic wrestling scene so tame that Ken Russell's "Women in Love" feels like an X by comparison, the film could pass for something Warners would have released in an earlier era -- earlier even than many of the events depicted onscreen, as suggested by Tom Stern's cinematography, desaturated nearly to black-and-white."
Ken posted the Variety review a few days ago. Eastwood is a great director and DiCaprio is outstanding in all he does but they needed opera and burlesque theme here to REALLY show the world how gory J. Edgar Hoover was. (I actually own a hand signed letter (in pencil) hand typed by the late man himself. My much older late boyfriend's Uncle owned a bank in Omaha, Nebraska which was robbed and Hoover looked into it.)
What else to flesh out that classic example of "the guy screaming loudest in church about 'sinners' has the most to hide" dictum but raging colours and Lisztomania style eye candy? (I answer this myself below...) From what I've seen the script writer was simply too kind and yet here was probably the closest to an official US Nazi that the world will ever see!! Hoover would hound people for checking out library books or going to a concert he did not like-even if they had ZERO leftist affiliations. My script would have had Jean Seberg and Paul Robeson show up as avenging angels ( he destroyed both of their lives) and Jean would hold up a mirror to show Hoover's femininity and latent homosexuality and Robeson would show the reflection of Hoover's long rumoured black ancestry. (The fact he did not file his birth certificate until he was 43 is apparently glossed over as well.) Looks like Leo and Clint Eastwood did great with what they has to work with though even if it wasn't Alan Bates or Ollie Reed's phenomenal bodies framed by Ken's genius at understated psychological turmoil. And there I go stereotyping the man as glittery camp "visionary" blah blah blah! The film could have been closer to Ken's understated and comparatively (to some of his other films) sedate vision and benefited greatly as well I'm sure.