Howard Hunt was a crook. His biggest job was the break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate building, a crime which eventually toppled a President. He was also a prolific writer of spy stories in which the agents of Western capitalism blackmail and subvert - and don't get caught. Paperback Vigilante is a documentary which exploits this paradox, tracing Hunt's life from university to White House against the fantasy backdrop of his novels. The film isn't just biography, though. Hunt's career in the CIA, through the Guatemala coup ('a clean and surgical-like operation'), the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, to his plucking from retirement to join Nixon's 'plumber's unit', is shown as a classic example of a son of the American ruling class being heavily financed to subvert 'international communism'. 'If you cut off the head of a chicken, you can do with the body what you will' says Hunt about his own plan to assassinate Castro (the interview which interlaces the film is excellent).
Peter Davis, Steffan Lam
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