Gore Vidal—which opens Friday, June 6, at the Ken Cinema and screens for one week only—focuses on its subject's revisionist writing on American history in the final act. Here, Vidal challenged myths surrounding Lincoln, Roosevelt and Kennedy in order to create important "counter-narratives." It was his hope that this would remind citizens that history was fallible, something that can be manipulated by the powerful to seize control. If amnesia takes over, we're doomed.
The reviewer notes how Vidal made bold strides in cinema, citing Myra Breckinridge, the 1970 film based on Vidal's 1968 saterical novel of the same name (and which Vidal always readily acknowledged was a badly-done work of cinema.
But, Vidal pushed boundaries in cinema subtly, too, not just boldly. The best example might be how he wrote into the script for Ben-Hur (1959) the background fact that the character Messala, played by Stephen Boyd, and the protagonist Ben-Hur had been lovers and Messala wants to rekindle the relationship. Director William Wyler instructed Boyd to go with Vidal's interpretation but chose not to tell Charlton Heston. Boyd's body language communicates this in the film but Heston was kept oblivious. This is discussed in the documentary The Celluloid Closet (1995), which includes brief interviews with Vidal.