4 May 2015 | kindwords
there's a far superior version: skip this one
Happened to find CONSPIRACY: THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO EIGHT on U2b and liked it so much I sought a DVD of it. Mistakenly ended up with this mess in the mail instead. Both the best version and this one use actual trial transcripts, but the 1987 includes interviews with actual participants in the trial and boasts a remarkable all-star cast. The 2011 version is badly acted, badly edited, supplemented with flashy filler (not trusting and, simultaneously, undercutting the potency of the actual trial), and weak in its selection of which trial scenes to include. HBO doesn't offer the original TV film, and Amazon way overprices it. TV docudramas of the '80s (another being WASHINGTON: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS) often captured the grit and sinew of HBO's early years of same, such as AND THE BAND PLAYED ON. If you're a film student, a comparison/contrast on the sublime '87 and ridiculous '11 would make a dandy term paper.