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USA, 2012, 90 Minute Running Time
Programs: Documentary, Special PresentationLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger
Editor: Seth KramerScreenwriter: Daniel A. MillerCinematographer: Roger T. Grange, Seth Kramer, Richard Patterson, Rodney Patterson, Chad Wilson, Ben Wolf
Before entire networks were built on populist personalities, before reality morphed into a TV genre, the masses fixated on a single, sociopathic star: controversial talk-show host Morton Downey Jr.
In the late ’80s, Downey tore apart the traditional talk format by turning debate of current issues into gladiatorial combat. His blow-smoke-in-your-face style drew a rabid cult following, but also the title “Father of Trash Television.” Was his show a platform for the working man, or an incubator for Snooki and The Situation? The documentary features interviews with Herman Cain, Pat Buchanan, Chris Elliott, Gloria Allred, Sally Jessy Raphael, Alan Dershowitz, Curtis Sliwa, and Richard Bey. Previously unreleased footage reveals Downey’s behind-the-scenes fistfights and foibles. Évocateur also features an exclusive interview with Steven Pagones, the white assistant district attorney accused in 1988 of raping black teenager Tawana Brawley. Brawley advocate Al Sharpton refused to be interviewed for the film, but there is shocking footage of him taped during a Downey show commercial break.
Directors Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger are recovering, once-rabid Mort fans. They directed the critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated documentaries The New Recruits and The Linguists.
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