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Movies

Movie Review

The mayor as movie star: The spotlight loved Ed Koch

Ed Koch, who died in February, is an unlikely movie star. That’s OK, since he was an unlikely political star. That didn’t keep the people of New York from electing as their mayor this bald, bullying, squawky man no fewer than three times; and in Neil Barsky’s documentary, “Koch,” he has a born leading man’s command of the screen.

He also had a leading man’s ego. The movie opens with Koch recalling his response whenever he’d fly back to Gotham. “There was the city of New York laid out before me. And I thought to myself, this belongs to me.” The point of Koch’s trademark question, “How’m I doin’?,” was that the emphasis never was on “how” or “doin’,” but always “I.” If ever a man had parents give him the right middle initial, it was Edward I. Koch. They gave him the right last name, too. It was a surname made for headlines (especially on the front page of The New York Post): short, catchy, abrupt.

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