Picks and Pans Review: The Education of Gore Vidal

updated 08/04/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/04/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

PBS (Wed., July 30, 10p.m. ET)
Critic's Choice

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"A nation of shoplifters...a sanctimonious society of hustlers." Gore Vidal says some harsh things about the United States in this stimulating American Masters profile. After reading aloud a typically iconoclastic passage from one of Vidal's essays, critic Adam Goodheart describes his reaction: "Gosh, did he just say that? Does he really think that?...Wait, it could be true!"

Novelist, dramatist and polemicist extraordinaire, the 77-year-old Vidal lives to provoke. Wherever he goes in this film—from his beloved Italian villa to Broadway for a revival of his political play The Best Man—Vidal flashes his subversive wit. As a bonus, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and other stars read from his work.

BOTTOM LINE: Great Gore

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