Fighting The Good Fight

SHOW: AND THE BAND PLAYED ON

TIME: SEPT. 11, 8 P.M. EDT (DEBUT), HBO

THE BOTTOM LINE: Randy Shilts' AIDS chronicle becomes a dramatically coherent but oversimplified TV movie.

And the Band Played On arrives on television trailing storm clouds of controversy. Randy Shilts' 1987 book about the early years of the AIDS crisis was first acquired by NBC, which later dropped the project. HBO picked it up but had trouble finding stars willing to appear in it until Richard Gere led a parade of big names who signed on -- among them Steve Martin, Anjelica Huston, Lily Tomlin, Phil Collins,...

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