Cinema: Old Hat in the Ring

The Best Man is Gore Vidal's behind-the-scenes melodrama about the in-fighting at a national political convention. A tantalizing game of who's who, peopled with characters who were composites of men in public life, the play bounced onto Broadway four years ago, timed for the 1960 elections. The 1964 movie version tries to be similarly topical, but the prototypes don't match any now around. Some of the dialogue still sizzles, but the effort to freshen it with references to integration only points up how out of date the Eisenhower-Nixon-Stevenson jokes are.

A more serious flaw lies in the film's slick casting. Lee Tracy...

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