Google+

DVD Features Historic Vidal-Buckley Debates

 

Best of Enemies

DVD Review by Kam Williams

DVD Features Historic Vidal-Buckley Debates

Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. were among the most brilliant and articulate minds of their generation. The pair were also polar opposites, politically, which made the idea of hiring them to appear in a series of televised debates an absolute stroke of genius.   

Best of Enemies, DVD Review, Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, Jr., politics, documentary, moment in history of TV

This was the brainchild of ABC-TV back in 1968, at a time when the network’s news department lagged far behind both CBS and NBC in the ratings. The plan was to have the liberal Vidal and conservative Buckley square-off during its coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions being staged that summer in Chicago and Miami Beach, respectively.

Arranging the showdown proved to be easier said than done, since the men not only hated each other politically, but personally as well. After all, Buckley saw himself as the defender of old-fashioned values and the status quo in the face of the Sixties’ counter-cultural revolution demanding equal rights for blacks, gays, women and other oppressed groups.

As expected, sparks flew during the spirited tete-a-tetes marked as much by effete Buckley’s arcane syntax as by firebrand Vidal iconoclastic comments. However, because neither participant wanted to lose, what began as sophisticated intellectual analysis eventually degenerated into an exchange of insults.

Best of Enemies, DVD Review, Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, Jr., politics, documentary, moment in history of TV

When Vidal referred to Buckley as a “crypto-Nazi,” he lost his composure and called his opponent a “queer.” A defamation lawsuit and counter-suit ensued, and the litigation would drag on for years.

Co-directed by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville, Best of Enemies is a fascinating documentary which revisits a seminal moment in the history of TV. For, the explosive Vidal-Buckley arguments over hot-button topics ranging from religion to sexuality served to usher in a new era in terms of discourse over the airwaves.

Best of Enemies, DVD Review, Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, Jr., politics, documentary, moment in history of TV

Besides archival footage of the debates, the conventions and anti-war demonstrations raging right outside, the film features commentary by luminaries like Frank Rich, John McWhorter and the late Christopher Hitchens. A must-see account of the birth of passionate, television punditry.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  R for sexuality, nudity and profanity

Running time: 89 minutes

Distributor: Magnolia Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: Interview with directors Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville; over one hour of bonus interviews with commentators; and the theatrical trailer.

  

To order a copy of Best of Enemies on DVD, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B013W7LS44/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

Entertainment

Calvin and Company Get Real in Chicago

  Barbershop: The Next Cut DVD Review by Kam Williams Calvin and Company Get Real in Chicago  There's been a big change at Calvin's Barbershop since our last visit over a decade ago. The once-sacred male sanctuary has been converted to a unisex salon, and some feisty female employees have brought a new flava to the former man cave, including manager Angie (Regina Hall), flamboyant Draya (Nicki Minaj) and cynical Bree (Margot Bingham). Besides Ice Cube as Calvin, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Legendary Civil Rights Icon Reflects upon the Past as Prologue

  Joan Trumpauer Mulholland The “She Stood for Freedom” Interview with Kam Williams Legendary Civil Rights Icon Reflects upon the Past as Prologue Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was a little girl in the 1950s. When she saw that black people were being treated differently from white people, she promised herself that she would do something to change that. As a teenager, she joined the Civil Rights Movement and protested the injustice she saw around her. During the 1960s, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent from sales one year ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Legendary Civil Rights Icon Reflects upon the Past as Prologue

  Joan Trumpauer Mulholland The “She Stood for Freedom” Interview with Kam Williams Legendary Civil Rights Icon Reflects upon the Past as Prologue Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was a little girl in the 1950s. When she saw that black people were being treated differently from white people, she promised herself that she would do something to change that. As a teenager, she joined the Civil Rights Movement and protested the injustice she saw around her. During the 1960s, … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

Dennis “Spanky” Hill Named the 2016 Recipient

  Dennis “Spanky” Hill Named the 2016 Recipient of the Perpetual Gulf Legends Award   Child actor Spanky McFarland brought laughter, energy, compassion and devoted friendship to the beloved Our Gang comedy films in the 1930s. Now, 80 years later, another Spanky is being honored for the same wonderful traits, with marinas and tournament weigh scales replacing Hollywood sets.   In a special ceremony at the captain’s meeting for this year’s Blue Marlin Grand … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Tiger Woods Opts Out of U.S. Open, Quicken Loans

  Tiger Woods Opts Out of U.S. Open, Quicken Loans By Burt Carey Tiger Woods isn’t ready to stage a comeback just yet. The 14-time major champion sent messages via Twitter and his website Tuesday that he would not be competing at either the U.S. Open at Oakmont next week or the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans tournament the following week. "While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year's U.S. Open and the Quicken … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Calling All Entrepreneurs: Creating “Buzz” For Your Brands

  Calling All Entrepreneurs: Creating “Buzz” For Your Brands by Amy Lignor   This is 2016. This is an election year. “Shark Tank” is a top show on television. And more than ever people want to be entrepreneurs; be in business for themselves and make some money. But even after all this time in the computer-age, entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to see the ‘niches’ they can get into to build their brand so that all consumers know who they are and why their … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Inexpensive Dream Vacations to be Found in “America the Beautiful”

Inexpensive Dream Vacations to be Found in “America the Beautiful” by Amy Lignor Say “dream vacation” and 80% of American’s minds journey to those ritzy areas, like Paris or Athens…they dream of touring the castles of London or dive into the magical history and culture of Ireland. But very few ever get the fact or remember, perhaps, that America the Beautiful is called that for a reason. There are a slew of perfect vacation spots in the good, old U.S. of A. that offer … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+