Where’s My Roy Cohn?

Movie Review by Joan Ellis –

Where’s My Roy Cohn?

Ask young people if they plan to see Where’s My Roy Cohn? and you’ll receive silence and a blank stare. Who? The young should see it because of its deep contemporary relevance. If you are over 70, this strong documentary will fill in the gaps of a story you probably knew well years ago. All age groups should be interested in Cohn’s connection with the current occupant of the White House.

In the ‘50s, Roy Cohn was known as a smart, ruthless young lawyer. His quote: “I don’t care what the law is; I care who the judge is.” At the peak of the Cold War he was prosecutor and designer of the guilty verdict in collusion with a corrupt judge in the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg that ended in their executions.

A small interruption: In 1952 while working in Washington, I walked to the capitol to the committee meetings where I watched a young Roy Cohn as he worked in Senator Joseph McCarthy’s hearings. At 21, I sat in that room and felt disgust for both Cohn and McCarthy as they manipulated the truth while destroying their victims. Their dishonor was deep and obvious.

We see films now that were taken of all this back then, but before common television coverage, the films didn’t reach large audiences. Then, and even now, we still underestimate the power of television as the tool that can deliver truth that is so readily seen in closeup coverage. Senator Joseph McCarthy was exposed in that hearing when Joseph Welsh unleashed his famous stab in a dignified, quiet voice as he stared at the senator: “Have you no sense of decency, Sir?”

This documentary shows the decades of phony manipulation as Roy Cohn destroyed whoever happened to be his target of the moment. He marched through all this with unshakable confidence as he accumulated fame and power while destroying innocent people. After hours he hung out as a rich, tan regular at the Stork Club and in his two Rolls Royces.

After his mother died, he surrounded himself openly with the friends who provided him with everyday sex, alcohol, nightclubs and mobsters. At some point, Cohn met the young real estate businessman, Donald Trump, and became his coach. By 1983 he stood at the opening of New York’s Trump Tower built by two hundred illegal aliens who were never paid.

Roy Cohn, who stole from his own clients, was ultimately disbarred in a wave of fraud, dishonesty and deceit. This man who inflicted so much harm on so many people went to his grave still lying to the public on the front pages of the press. This documentary proof of his guilt in all parts of his life is supported by genuine published photos and quotes from his time. It is a carefully assembled exposure of a criminal who made his living by hurting people. No appeal for you? It’s an important piece of history. Please go.

Film Critic : Joan Ellis
Film Title : Where’s My Roy Cohn?
Word Count : 502
Running Time : 1:37
Rating : PG-13
Date : 20 October 2019

This entry was posted on October 20, 2019, in Documentary.


Movie Review by Joan Ellis –


A mild warning about the wonderful Pavarotti. Those of you who are genuine opera lovers may find it borders on being frenetic. Those who are looking at it as a biography rather than a musical event will see it differently. Yes, it is frenetic, but so is the man and that’s why this portrait of him is so good. What is more fun than unraveling the mystery of any human being who has had the courage and determination to develop an inborn talent?

Several things become clear quickly about the man himself. He wants to be remembered as a man who brought opera to the people, and the people who made this film want to invite the public to get to know the man who wanted so much to be “just one of the guys.” That is exactly what happens as we watch. In the early days, he has a wife and three children he loves. He sees himself as unsophisticated in life but must deal with fame as his singing tours through rural America make his name familiar to millions.

Away from his family he is a lonely innocent until he undertakes a series of relationships with women who offer him the steady presence he needs. He loves being spoiled by those who become caretakers of him and the 28 suitcases he brings on trips.

Making friends everywhere, Pavarotti never escapes the feeling of fear that creeps over him every time he is about to go on stage. Watch the genuine friendship with Lady Diana in England as she and thousands come to his outdoor concert in pouring rain. As he asks them to close their umbrellas, they are all standing, soaked, and smiling in their affection for this singer they love. He is joined by Navorati who is 34 years younger than he. She becomes his protector.

As he begins to sing with rock stars, opera lovers may groan at the invasion of the ordinary. Baffled and rooted in his lack of sophistication, Pavarotti begins to stop feeling guilty off stage and revels in the “Three Tenor” concerts with his new best friends – Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. By 1994 he feels crushed by injustice in Bosnia and goes there to help the children who return his favors with joy.

This multifaceted man tells us he has lived his songs and we see that clearly as he brings the lessons of his entire life to every performance. He lives in his songs until he dies at 71 in 2007. The riveting thing about Pavarotti is that through all his success, he remained a relatively simple man drawn to people he could help. Stardom never seduced him as he remained himself with friends and fans. It was only when he took to the stage anywhere in the world that he carried with him an inner world that stayed through each performance until he smiled again during the following ovation.

Film Critic : Joan Ellis
Film Title : Pavarotti
Word Count : 496
Running Time : 1:26
Rating : G
Date : July 14, 2019