• Post category:Television
  • Post last modified:June 2, 2021

And the Band Played On

A THREAT NO ONE DARED FACE. A WORD NO ONE WANTED TO SPEAK. A FIGHT FOR MANY, FOUGHT BY FEW. 

andthebandplayedonIn 1981, epidemiologist Don Francis (Matthew Modine) joins a team of researchers at the CDC who are trying to figure out the causes of a very deadly disease among gay men. Randy Shilts wrote an ambitious, acclaimed account of how AIDS came to America and how long it took for politicians, the media and other institutions to react. This HBO adaptation has a large cast (very unusual at the time to see movie stars like Richard Gere make an appearance in a TV movie) and a structure that might remind audiences of a disaster movie… but AIDS is indeed a catastrophe. Perhaps a bit too technical for some tastes, but gripping nonetheless with a few standout performances, including Alan Alda.

1993-U.S. Made for TV. 141 min. Color. Produced by¬†Sarah Pillsbury, Midge Sanford. Directed by¬†Roger Spottiswoode. Teleplay:¬†Arnold Schulman. Book: Randy Shilts. Cast: Matthew Modine (Don Francis), Alan Alda (Robert Gallo), Glenne Headley (Mary Guinan), Saul Rubinek, Ian McKellen, Charles Martin Smith… Phil Collins, Richard Gere, Anjelica Huston, Richard Jenkins, Tch√©ky Karyo, Swoosie Kurtz, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin.

Trivia: Gere’s character was allegedly based on real-life Broadway choreographer Michael Bennett.

Emmy: Outstanding Made for Television Movie.

Last word: “President Reagan would not address the situation at all, and his administration and the religious right actually began to blame the disease on the people that were getting it. Something had to be done urgently to explain to people that diseases do not have a sexual preference and no community deserves to be ignored when tragedy strikes.¬†HBO¬†stepped up big time producing a film that was so controversial and all of the actors enthusiastically jumped into the project in a major attempt to shine a light on this disease. I was honored to play¬†Don Francis¬†and to work with such an amazing cast.” (Modine, Comedy Spot Nation)

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