BEST OF ENEMIES
(Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville, U. S.). 87 minutes. Rating: NNNN This account of the 10 incendiary debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal during the 1968 Republican and Democratic conventions recalls a time long gone.
For one thing, fully 80 per cent of Americans were watching those conventions. No one gets an audience that size these days. For another, there was such a thing as a public intellectual, and lefty Vidal and right-winger Buckley, who loathed each other, were among the most fascinating.
But they were more alike than you’d think. Both came from the establishment, and both understood profoundly the power of TV at the time.
The quality of the debates themselves is not all that high, but the spectacle and the venom are glorious, especially while the cops are rioting in the streets of Chicago. Apr 24, 7 pm, TIFF 1; Apr 26, 3:15 pm, Isabel Bader