Howl, the movie is finally out. Here are a few reviews
We begin first, though, with an interview by Jerry Portwood with artist Eric Drooker
“You probably know artist Eric Drooker’s work even though you may not recognize his name. He’s produced artwork for over a dozen covers of The New Yorker, several depicting books stacked to resemble skyscrapers. Now his art has been adapted as animated sequences in Howl, the film about the landmark 1957 obscenity trial on the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem Howl, starring James Franco. Read full review in the NY Press
I saw the best poems of previous generations destroyed by sanity, well-fed, calm, neatly dressed, tiptoeing through lecture halls at 10 a.m. looking for a passing grade on a term paper….
Poet Bob Holman reviewed the film for About.com
“I want medals all around for those who are bringing us the movie Howl, already released in San Francisco, due in New York next week—I mean that tells you something right there, and I like it! Yes, this is a movie based on a poem—when was the last time you saw one of those? And it’s done real smart too—while they get most of the lines of Ginsberg’s classic into the film, they serve another purpose here, or several purposes, and a linear rendering just ain’t one of them… [2012 update – regretfully, the rest of this review is no longer available]
And here’s quite good one from NPR’s Scott Tobias – “James Franco , Loosing a “Howl” in Ginsberg’s Honour”
“In an interview with Playboy magazine — see, people do read it for the articles — Allen Ginsberg was asked about his struggles to accept his homosexuality. His answer, re-created in the unconventional and illuminating biopic Howl, cuts to the heart of what his poems (and this movie) seek to express..
For the rest of Tobias’ story – see here
And, to conclude for the moment, the Wall Street Journal gives especially good review of Drooker’s animation sequences.
“Howl,” the new film about Allen Ginsberg and his controversial poem, is no simple narrative. The action flits among the titular poem’s first public reading—at San Francisco’s Six Gallery on Oct. 7, 1955—to the obscenity trial that followed in 1957 to an interview with the poet (played by James Franco). Meanwhile, soaring in and around all this are long stretches of animation depicting the text’s urban, surrealist visions….”
The piece continues and may be read in its entirety – here