A Big Week for Fans of William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal

Feature documentary about pair's celebrated 1968 ABC-TV debates screens in D.C. and New York.

The Internet never ceases to amaze. With a few quick clicks today, we were listening to the audio of the August 27, 1968 ABC-TV debate between William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal.

On Wednesday, Best of Enemies, a feature documentary about some storied televised meetings of these minds, will open the AFI DOCS festival at the Newseum in Washington D.C. And on Saturday, the film will have its New York premiere at the BAMcinemaFest in Brooklyn. From a preview piece by LA Times reporter Carolyn Kellogg:

The two were ideologically opposed, and had debated on television before 1968. The format of their conversations that year, however, brought them into contact with one another several times, and with the heated political atmosphere – Chicago police beat anti-war demonstrators outside the Democratic convention, on camera – their exchanges escalated.

Vidal, unsportingly, called Buckley a “pro-crypto-Nazi.” Even less sportingly, Buckley shot back, “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.” On live television.

Something that will probably come up during the AFI event Q&A this week and beyond, albeit as a sideline topic, is the fact in the shadow of Caitlyn Jenner, Vidal was in 1968 also riding the publication of Myra Breckinridge, his novel about a secretly transsexual woman. Best of Enemies debuted at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and is set for limited release in New York and Los Angeles starting July 31.
[Photo via: bestofenemiesfilm.com]

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.
Publish date: June 15, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/afi-docs-williamf-buckley-gore-vidal/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT