The Importance Of Roger Spottiswoode’s Screen Adaptation Of And The Band Played On

4446 words - 18 pages

The Importance of Roger Spottiswoode’s Screen Adaptation of And The Band Played On

[1] Hollywood is no longer just a name, it is a business, a living entity holding America’s people in its grasp, and it is not about to let them go. Gradually taking on more responsibility and trying to build up its reputation over the years, Hollywood has progressively assumed the position of history-teller for the American public. This role, whether or not an appropriate one for an industry such as Hollywood to tackle, has catapulted actors and actresses into high paying, high visibility positions. History has and will continue to be one of the main subjects that the movie industry has been fascinated with. It is an alive and very fragile subject that, through its multi-dimensional character, requires careful attention by everyone involved in the project. Whenever Hollywood tackles an historical topic, whether portraying a non-disputable factual event or only a vaguely one, the industry is bound to encounter dispute and criticism.

[2] Regardless of how careful the director, producer, and actors are at being loyal to the subject matter, then, the question still remains whether or not Hollywood is a legitimate resource for historical matter. Is it possible for a dramatic, high priced and glitzy medium to be honest and true to its subject matter in such a way that viewers are not confused but more educated walking out than they were walking in? Is the Movie Theater any place for history to be learned? Directors fight and argue that indeed Hollywood is equally as reliable and legitimate a source as other "texts." The movies provide a more immediate resource, allowing history to change from the dreaded school subject to an appealing topic. Hollywood ties faces, people, and their stories into an historical event, making the movie credible but, more important to the moviemakers, enjoyable. The debate over cinematic history still remains, and it will continue to challenge Hollywood, constantly forcing the industry to make the best possible movies, producing historical epics on the big screen, making history a universal and personable subject.

[3] In 1993, a small-time director at HBO Productions thought it was about time that a movie was made discussing the broad, taboo topic of the AIDS epidemic. Roger Spottiswoode was the director, and he took author Randy Shilts’ controversial journal And The Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic (1987) and turned it into a movie. Spottiswoode took the challenge facing Hollywood straight on and was bold enough to attempt a project that had been passed over and rejected for six years straight. From the beginning to end And The Band Played On was a fight. Spottiswoode fought for HBO to take the project on, and he fought with Hollywood to try to entice actors to participate in it. The fight continued after the release of the cable TV movie, with critics and the public simply not...

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