What was that movie about a governor who resigned because of a scandal involving prostitutes?
Question: I know this is shallow, but when I heard about Eliot Spitzer hiring hookers, the first thing I thought of was this movie I saw about a governor who had to resign because of his relationship with a prostitute. But for the life of me, I can't remember who was in it or any of the details. Can you help? - Rachel
Lolita Davidovich, Paul Newman courtesy Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
I can. You must be thinking of
(1989), a fictionalized version of the real-life relationship between stripper Blaze Starr (played by
) and Louisiana governor Earl Long (
), younger brother of the notorious Huey "The Kingfish" Long.
The 62-year-old Earl Long, in the third year of his third term as governor (he served first from 1939-1940, then as lieutenant governor he stepped in for disgraced governor Richard Leche from 1948-1952, and his third term was 1956-1960), in 1958 or '59 met Starr, then in her twenties, when she was stripping at a New Orleans club. A stripper, Starr always maintained, is not the same as a prostitute, but let's face it: They're conflated in the public perception.
In any event, they quickly began a not especially discreet affair. Long didn't resign because of a scandal related to Starr: He was committed to a mental institution in 1959 by his wife, Blanche (who is conspicuously absent from the film, reportedly because she wanted no part of it), ostensibly because of his erratic behavior. Long managed to get himself released and served out what was left of his term. But it was a pretty spectacular scandal.
Among my favorite movies about political sex scandals:
(1989), about happy hookers Christine Keeler (Joanne Whalley) and Mandy Rice-Davies (Bridget Fonda), who sank the political career of U.K. prime minister John Profumo in 1963 and inspired a much-quoted Phillip Larkin
The Bank Job
(2008), which posits that the real-life 1971 "Walkie Talkie Robbery" of a Lloyd's Bank branch in London was actually all about recovering porno pictures of Princess Margaret, then at the height of her Mustique and "naughty salt" phase, from a certain safe deposit box.
(1993), a comedy about a man (
) who's recruited to impersonate the president after the commander in chief lapses into a coma while having sex with his mistress (any echoes of Nelson Rockefeller's death while in the company of much younger aide Megan Marshack are, of course, coincidental).
The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington
(1977), in which an entirely fictionalized version of
(Joey Heatherton) - author of the best-selling memoir
The Happy Hooker
- gets involved in a Washington sex scandal.
(1998), a thinly disguised film à clef about a Bill Clinton-like presidential candidate (
) whose campaign is undermined by all-too-credible rumors of sexual misconduct.
Wag the Dog
(1997), in which a Hollywood producer (
) and a presidential aide (Anne Heche) conspire to deflect attention from the president's (
Robert De Niro
) sexual pecadillos by cooking up a fake war with Albania.
Juicy. If I've missed one of your favorites, share!
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