I had never heard of Morton Downey Jr. prior to watching this documentary. I grew up in the 1980s, but my parents restricted what I watched and I can’t imagine I would have cared about the right-wing agenda of his show anyway. With that being said, I could not have been more fascinated with the documentary about this bizarre ego-maniac.
Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie follows the sudden rise and sudden fall of Morton Downey’s late-night talk show which paved the way for people like Jerry Springer under the guise of patriotism. What becomes truly clear about the man, however, is that he enjoyed the spotlight and fame far more than anything he was doing to achieve it.
Prior to his talk show and political convictions, Morton Downey Jr. attempted to match his father’s success as a singer. When he becomes famous for his political tripe, it almost appears to simply be another way for him to absorb as much attention as possible. The more we discover about the man that he truly was, the more of a phony his persona appears to be. Given the title “Father of Trash Television,” Downey Jr. had a studio audience to help him bully guests until nobody but strippers would agree to make an appearance. This is how we ended up with Jerry Springer, apparently.
The Blu-ray release includes a number of special features for fans of the subject and documentary alike. There are memorable moments from the famed talk show, as well as a featurette on the film’s animation sequences, and a commentary track with directors Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 7/10
Disc Features: 8/10