April 16-27, 2014

The Emperor Has No Title: Mysterious Spitzer Doc Hits Big Screen

Former Governor appears in new film about his rise and fall

By Andrew Siff
|  Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010  |  Updated 3:43 PM EDT
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The Emperor Has No Title: Mysterious Spitzer Doc Hits Big Screen

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When the guy who helped unravel the Enron mystery calls, you might want to answer.

So, when Alex Gibney, director of the documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room," called Eliot Spitzer, the former Governor of New York agreed to sit down and talk -- apparently in some detail -- about the prostitution scandal that ended his term in Albany.

"I interviewed Eliot four times for the film," said Gibney, who also directed an upcoming documentary about corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff. "I think that showed a certain amount of courage and a willingness to reckon with what he has done."

In an advance promo copy of the movie, Spitzer looks into the camera and tries to make sense of how a man with limitless potential became a punchline.

"The best metaphor I can think of is Icarus. Those whom the Gods would destroy they make all powerful," says Spitzer in the film, which still has no title.

That's added a little mystery to the mix as producers prepare for a red carpet screening at the TriBeca Film Festival on Saturday. The film coinicdes with a new book, an in-depth analysis of the scandal which reveals Spitzer sometimes requested the services of several female escorts in one day. 

One exeuctive at the now infamous Emperors VIP Club told director Gibney the Governor was paranoid his secret would be discovered -- and yet, she says, he was a regular customer.

"Ultimately vice took over virtue. He could not control himself," Cecil Suwal, the former Club CEO told the filmmaker.

Of course, pundits are already pondering whether the premiere helps or hurts the much-talked-about Spitzer political comeback.

Doug Muzzio of Baruch College's School of Public Affairs doubts there will be any campaigns around the corner.

"There are two offices that I would say. One is state comptroller and the other is U.S. Senator, neither of which he can run for in 2010. It's too early," says Muzzio.

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