'And the Band Played On'

Only someone with a heart of granite would not be moved or angered on some level by HBO's ambitious, cameo-studded 1993 movie of the late Randy Shilts' chronicling of the government's public-health policy regarding the AIDS epidemic. Like the book, this newsreel-woven movie, written by Arnold Schulman and directed by Roger Spottiswoode, focuses on the band of pioneering anti-AIDS researchers and activists. There is a lot of material to draw together, and the complexities of Shilts' book would challenge almost any scenarist. U.S. Centers for Disease Control researcher Don Francis (Matthew Modine, center, with Ian McKellen and Lily Tomlin) and his underfunded colleagues slowly pull back the sheet, inch by inch, revealing the full cadaver (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.).

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