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Evocateur: Morton Downey Jr Movie [Blu-ray] [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: Subtitled, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Magnolia
  • Release Date: Sept. 3 2013
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • ASIN: B00DI01382
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Product Description

Evocateur: Morton Downey Jr Movie [Blu-ray]

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9e1b86e4) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e1a1534) out of 5 stars Fascinating details about Morton Downey Jr and the beginnings of shock television and reality tv shows. Aug. 27 2013
By Kcorn - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Although shock type tv or reality shows where the host gets in guests' faces and jeers at them (or even goes way beyond that) make me cringe, this film sheds much light on Morton Downey Jr's appeal - and why he made headlines regularly - although his fame lasted a relatively short time. The filmmakers, former fans of Downey, have created an intriguing perspective, one that doesn't totally flatter the man or condemn him. Both views are included.

I actually remember seeing Downey's show when it was still being aired. The filmmakers have definitely captured the essence of those shows as well as an in depth look at Downey's place in television history. I had somehow forgotten the details of his aggressive (rabid might be more accurate) and intense persona. A chain smoker, he would puff away while assessing his audiences and guests.

He'd also ramp up audience energy (they didn't need much encouragement) until many would be yelling and insulting the guests along with him. Downey's bullying and taunts set the wave for shock jocks and other incendiary television hosts to come. Viewing the faces of those in his audiences reveals just how easily he could tap into their anger and turn it from a simmering undercurrent into a full boil.

Even if you watched every one of his shows when they were on air, this film includes clips and footage which have never been seen before - as well as intriguing animation in sections. This is a chance to see early reality television, a must for anyone interested in how it all began - and evolved. Along the way, the filmmakers reveal not only how Downey drew a following but his missteps and eventual fall. I'm not an expert in social or television history so I can't say that Downey was THE trendsetter for this type of television. But he was among the earliest ones.

By the way, his show is only one part of Downey's extensive career. He appeared in television series such as Diagnosis Murder and also had roles in movies. He was also a singer, with records released for Gold Records and Artists of America. Downey's wife is attempting to make his shows available to the public again.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f0c6f3c) out of 5 stars "I'm The Same Kind Of Phony That You Are" - Morton Downey Jr. Nov. 8 2013
By Sheryl Fechter - Published on Amazon.com
The Morton Downey Jr. show debuted in 1987 in New York City to his ranting; "The morality of this country is on a low ebb and getting lower" [audience is screaming] "What are YOU gonna do about it?" [audience is on their feet - screaming]. Downey Jr. definitely knew how to incite a riot and created the first mob mentality in his followers. People couldn't wait to tune in and see what he would say next, how far he would go, and how badly he could insult, shock and infuriate his own guests. The ongoing question falls into; "Was it all real or staged?" One was never sure if it was partially set up, all setup, or altogether real. This intrigued his audiences into its speedy syndication and tuned in America to the beginning of reality television as we know it today...

Seemingly now, these are pretty pervasive; reality shows are on most every channel, but they had a pioneer - A pioneer with no limits and no boundaries and for his fans, this was the appeal. Many people even saw his rabid audience as frighteningly entertaining and consequently called it "The Beast". He was that outrageous; wholeheartedly agreeing with his participants then immediately turning around to mercilessly attack them verbally. All the while purporting he was "the voice for all of those who go unheard". Who appeared to go unheard was actually his own daughter. During the film, she weighs in constantly about the fear she had of even viewing her father's show as she did not know him this way at home. He was two very different personas, on air and off.

Morton Downey Jr. came from very diverse parents. His father was quite a successful singer and entertainer during his generation. 'Sean' (Morton Downey Jr.) struggled to make good by his father while never proving himself to the level he had reached. Downey Sr. being the voice of the late '30's and Jr. being the 'loud mouth' of the late '80's, theirs was a very strained relationship. Downey Jr. was always very interested in music himself, performing and entertaining in this genre although did not have the talent of his father before him.

This docudrama gets into detail with his confusing switch in political viewpoints from his younger days with the Kennedys as good friends then to the complete opposite, famous friends, staff, and outspoken guests (Gloria Allred, Rev. Al Sharpton, Alan Dershowitz and others). It also shines a scrutinizing light on his familial relationships, children, friends and dysfunctional marriages. Interspersed throughout with intriguingly demonstrative pieces of animation and clips of several political venues, which profess many views from behind the scenes of The Morton Downey Jr. 'Show' ... and The Morton Downey Jr. 'Life'. The viewpoints are discussed by his fans at the time the show aired and they neither totally vilify him nor glorify him either. They give us a perspective that we can weigh both sides from along with their conversations throughout. He soared the heights to only crash very quickly (a bit under two years) as his producer says, "You can only stir the pot for so long".
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e1a7cb4) out of 5 stars THE MOUTH THAT ROARED Dec 31 2013
By Mark Turner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Rather than talk about another horror film being released (WORLD WAR Z is a good movie by the way) I thought I'd take a look at a movie few people may have heard of but that is well worth watching. Documentaries rarely get the attention they deserve and it's only those that choose outlandish subjects that get the most attention. That happens to be the case here with EVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE.

For those old enough to recall Morton Downey Jr. suddenly appeared on the scene of late night television in the late 80s. His was a talk show unlike any other. Keep in mind this was before Jerry Springer brought about "real guests" with unusual problems. Downey rose in popularity like a rocket, with ratings that were phenomenal and then plummeted nearly as fast. What most didn't know was the man behind the scenes. This film offers a look at that as well as his popularity.

The son of famous tenor Morton Downey Sr., Downey always wanted to follow in his father's footsteps as a singer. Unfortunately he didn't have near the voice. In addition to that his home life was one where he always felt not just a rivalry with his father but somehow overshadowed by the man's success. This was a driving force in his life, what made him the overachiever he later became.

One of the most surprising things in the film is to discover that Downey was a supporter of the Democratic Party and good friend of the Kennedy family, especially Ted Kennedy. The man who would later become the voice of Conservatives actually leaned to the left in his earlier years. That all changed as his need for acceptance and popularity drove him in a different direction.

Downey was a singer and always involved in the entertainment industry but it wasn't until he found his niche as a talk show host that he received the attention and notoriety that he dreamt of. After an appearance on the Wally George show, another confrontational talk show host, Downey was approached to host a show of his own on a New Jersey station that was just going national via cable. That became The Morton Downey Jr. Show.

Now for those who never saw it this show as about as confrontational as you can get. It far exceeded those who came before it like George or even the Joe Pyne show. Downey would have guests on who often were involved in things he didn't like or who had differing opinions from him. Or so it seemed. As he would offer questions to these guests he often literally got in their faces and was cheered on by his studio audience, an integral part of his show.

The audience for Downey's show was blue collar workers and teens who often had as much if not more attitude than he himself had. They would cheer and rant at the guests, call for their removal from the stage and sometimes even be included in the conversations as representatives from groups opposed to the guests. They would either get into interesting back and forth good humored patter with Downey or at times be silenced by him and escorted from the studio.

The most surprising thing to learn in this movie is that his show was only on for 2 years. It seemed longer. The behind the scenes look offered here shows that Mort was in it for the fame and that most of the confrontations were staged. It was all about ratings and they were there. His downfall involved a possibly staged incident where he was supposed to have been attacked by skinheads in an airport bathroom.

The best part of the movie is the glimpse of the man behind the scenes as told by not just his fans but by those who knew him. His friends and family give a better look at someone driven by a need for acceptance and fame. It clouded his judgment at times but also created one of the most notorious names in television. In the end after watching the entire film I felt sad for Downey more than anything.

Some of the clips shown here are interesting, some are funny and some help us recall the past in ways that are clouded these days by the press (the best stand out is Mort and Al Sharpton during the Tawana Brawley case). For those who never saw the show you might be surprised. For those who hated him you might change your mind. And for those who loved him you will continue to do so. This is an interesting film with an interesting subject and well worth the watch.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb9304650) out of 5 stars I'm not your stepping stone Sept. 28 2013
By J. L LaRegina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The 2013 documentary EVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY, JUNIOR, MOVIE depicts the trash television talk show host's rapid rise and fast fall. Living in New Jersey my whole life, I had forgotten THE MORTON DOWNEY, JR., SHOW, which originated on a Secaucus, N.J., station, did not even last two years. But, as this film depicts, the important thing to remember is that Downey broke the television shame barrier. While guest-attacking shows such as HOT SEAT with Wally George were limited to U.H.F. channels, THE MORTON DOWNEY, JR., SHOW moved that format to V.H.F. television, where Downey often asked a question of and insulted someone in the same breath.

An unchallenged, incorrect remark of one EVOCATEUR interview subject claims television's DONAHUE show, which ran from 1967 to 1996 and popularized the audience-centered T.V. interview program format still in vogue as I write this in September 2013, avoided provocative topics. Obviously that person did not see DONAHUE often, missing broadcasts with guests such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Moore, and Pete Rose, to name three controversial individuals I recall seeing on the show. The first-ever DONAHUE guest was Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

The many DONAHUE imitators that followed would seek arguments, too, but much more often with guests of whom you have not heard because they are regular people fighting over paternity tests, marital infidelity, and other salacious nonsense. DONAHUE was about topics that aroused passionate debate. Its copycats skipped the topics in favor of trailer trash love triangles, passion with no point. Sure, Muhammad Ali polarized people with his refusal to be inducted into military service and his DONAHUE appearance made for compelling television. But the sight of one fat woman lunging at another because both had children by the same fat dude, as seen in the bad imitators of DONAUE such as MAURY and SALLY JESSE RAPHAEL, will also keep people from changing the channel.

As we see in EVOCATEUR, the legacy of the late Morton Downey, Jr., is spreading into the mainstream the kind of trash talk show where the host is the one lunging at people. Bill O'Reilly, Nancy Grace, and Phil McGraw should leave flowers at his grave regularly.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9df51bdc) out of 5 stars Great expose on the internal motivations of a unique entertainer yet troubled man June 22 2014
By Barbara Najera - Published on Amazon.com
I admit to being a recovering Morton Downey Jr addict. I would watch his show religiously in high school - it was like nothing I had seen before! As a Boy Scout, we named our patrol the "loudmouth" patrol for the National Scout Jamboree in Washington D.C. in honor of the "evocateur." This program dug deep and brought out the inner turmoil that motivated Mort to be the outrageous entertainer that he was. His out of control antics on the set and relative fame and success was fodder for the spiritual cancer that metastasized into his out of control behavior in just about every other dimension of his life. Honestly a tragic tale.

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