I don't feel sad for Gore Vidal today. He lived to 86 and he had the kind of life people ask Santa Claus for. It was not without hardship, loss or suffering, but he leaves behind great works and a million smiles. If anything, I feel sad for my country, which lost one of its truest patriots.
Vidal had no self-doubt. He used his legendary intellect in the service of opinions that drew blood. Feuds thrilled him. And he never lost the swagger that comes from knowing that -- at least in his youth -- he was a stunner. Want a guided tour?
The Best Man depicts a time when presidential conventions were brokered through backroom deals as delegates were swapped for political favors. Today, conventions have become highly scripted coronation ceremonies, just short of political infomercials.
While he was bartending a Hollywood party, Lucille Ball sashays in and slaps Scotty Bowers in the face. (Bowers matchmaker-ed for Desi Arnaz). One wonders why he wasn't hit more often. On the other hand, I, for one, would like to shake his hand.
When Gore Vidal's The Best Man opened in 1960, JFK and LBJ were slugging it out for the Democratic presidential nomination. Half a century later, Michael Wilson's riveting revival is a timely reminder that in politics, the more things change the more they stay the same.
Will Russell, who believes that personal smears shouldn't be used in politics, resort to his opponent's tactics in order to win? There's a chance that most of you already know the answer because The Best Man was also a 1964 movie starring Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, and Lee Tracy.
This was a time when politicians were smart, oozed tons of charm and weren't shy about drinking bourbon & branch water. The words politics and entertainment are seldom found in the same sentence, but The Best Man is loaded with both.