Tag Archives: On the Road

Beats on the Big Screen

As I am sure you will know, Kerouac’s 1951 classic, On the Road is now ‘in the can’… hopefully it makes its way to our shores this coming summer. I am particularly excited about seeing Sam Riley’s portrayal of Sal Paradise (Kerouac) and Viggo Mortensen’s take on Old Bull Lee (Burroughs). They are two actors, who rarely miss for me, so I am hoping they really capture the frenetic, freewheeling spirit of Jack & Bill. I am not as familiar with the work of Garrett Hedlund, but let’s hope he brings the necessary energy to make Dean Moriarty (Cassady) crackle on screen. If you haven’t already seen it, here’s the trailer:

And just as exciting, is the release of two new Beat Documentaries, Beat Hotel and The Poetry Deal: a film with Diane di Prima.

Beat Hotel takes a look at the heady days of the Beats in Paris (1957 – 63); when Ginsberg, Orlovsky & Corso fled the aftermath of the Howl obscenity trial and holed up at 9 Rue Git le Couer where they were joined by the likes of William S. Burroughs, Ian Sommerville, Brion Gysin & Harold Norse. In this no-name hotel, dubbed Beat Hotel, Burroughs would complete his revolutionary book, Naked Lunch, Corso would write some of his greatest poems and Sommerville & Gysin would invent the Dream Machine. It was an experimental sanctuary, where outcasts, oddballs and misfits were welcomed. Here’s the trailer:

And The Poetry Deal, looks at the life of one of the Beat era’s revolutionary women, Diane di Prima. You only need to dip into Memoirs of a Beatnik to know that di Prima, lived as wild as any of the men; her explosive texts bursting with a spirit of rebellion. The film features many intimate interviews with di Prima and is ‘lyrical and energetic’ in its exploration of her life.

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Kerouac to Brando: Put Up Your Dukes

Friday night’s a great movie night…

I was reading recently that filming for On the Road had wrapped up. From what I have seen, Sam Riley looks amazing as Kerouac / Sal Paradise, and if his performance as Joy Division singer, Ian Curtis in the film Control is anything to go by, I am sure he is going to bring some serious energy to the screen. Here’s one of the first stills currently doing the rounds (Riley is in the back seat; Garrett Hedlund playing Dean Moriarty and Kristen Stewart playing Mary Lou are in the front).

I haven’t come across any official release date as yet, but let’s hope it ain’t too far away… after all, it’s been a long time coming.

Francis Ford Coppola bought the rights to the film back in 1979, but Kerouac was keen to have the book realised on the screen from the get go, writing a letter to Brando in 1957, asking him to play Dean Moriarty, with Kerouac wanting to play himself (Sal Paradise).

Here’s a link to where you can read the full letter.

Imagine… Jack & Brando duking it out on screen. Now that, that would have been something!

And while we’re talking poetic films, Lee Chang-dong’s film Poetry, also looks stunning. Let’s hope this one makes our shores soon.

Have you watched anything brilliant lately? Am always keen for a good film tip!

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Get Your Fix

Another Sunday, and after the grey, weeping sky that prevailed last weekend, it is so good to feel the last of today’s winter sun streaming through my window.

And while I am getting my fix, you should get yours.

Huncke

Check out this great short film based on the poem A Fix by Herbert Huncke. For many Huncke is better known as ‘Herman’ in Burroughs’ classic novel, Junky or as ‘Elmer Hassel’ in Kerouac’s On the Road, but Huncke was certainly no bit player. In fact it was Huncke who intoduced Kerouac to the term ‘beat’.

And if this film peaks your interest, check out this reading of Huncke’s classic ‘The Evening Sun Turned Crimson’.

Now that voice is beat.

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