Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Jack Kerouac - King of the Beats|
Actors: William S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac
Director: John Antonelli
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lewis_tollani | 06/15/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"'King of the Beats' is halfway in between being a documentary and a movie. It contains footage of Kerouac and interviews with Ginsberg, Burroughs, Ferlinghetti, Huncke, etc. But the majority of the footage is of actors portraying the events of kerouac's life, with a voiceover guiding the story. It's incredibly dull and pointless, and the way the story is presented is poor, also. Several important elements of Kerouac's life are merely skimmed over. The whole thing has the feel of a cheap 1980's 'made for tv' movie-documentary. On the positive side, many of the interviews are quite interesting, but sadly we only get fragments. The interview with Huncke is quite funny. The footage of Jack on the Steve Allen show and 10 years later on Firing Line is fascinating.If you want to learn about Kerouac or you are an admirer who wants to learn more and to see footage of him, buy "What happened to Kerouac" instead, a mid 70's documentary that was made. It's available on DVD and is far superior to this, including several fascinating interviews not only with the people mentioned above, but others such as Gary Snyder. It also contains the two TV appearances mentioned above."
For anyone with interest in the American "beatnik" movement
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 02/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On The Road With Jack Kerouac is a superbly presented, 73 minute video documentary on the life and work of Jack Kerouac. Rare documentary footage is enhanced with informative interviews with such Kerouac contemporaries as Allan Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and William Burroughs. On The Road With Jack Kerouac is a "must" for all Jack Kerouac fans, as well as anyone with an interest in the American "beatnik" movement."
Bernard Chapin | CHICAGO! USA | 02/10/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Yeah, this one is neither fish nor fowl. It includes some good footage and interviews with members of the beat generation, but its attempt to dramatize Kerouac's life are unfulfilling. The acting is sixth rate, and the actors themselves don't look much at all like Jack or Neal Cassady. I think it was a great idea to have an actor read passages from Kerouac's work, but even this manages to grate as the sentences are read melodramatically and contaminated by too much emotion. Kerouac didn't sound like that, nor, from what I have read, did he think like that. This documentary was quite a disappointment and two other films are available on the tragic man which are far superior in quality."
The King Of The "Beats"
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 09/21/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As I have explained in another entry in this space in reviewing the DVD of "The Life And Times Of Allen Ginsberg", recently I have been in a "beat" generation literary frame of mind. I mentioned there, as well, and I think it helps to set the mood for commenting on Jack Kerouac's bio-pic here, that it all started last summer when I happened to be in Lowell, Massachusetts on some personal business. Although I have more than a few old time connections with that now worn out mill town I had not been there for some time. While walking in the downtown area I found myself crossing a small park adjacent to the site of a well-known mill museum and restored textile factory space. Needless to say, at least for any reader with a sense of literary history, at that park I found some very interesting memorial stones inscribed with excerpts from a number of Kerouac's better known works dedicated to Lowell's `bad boy', the "king of the 1950s beat writers".
And, just as naturally, when one thinks of Kerouac then Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Neal Cassady and a whole ragtag assortment of poets, hangers-on, groupies and genuine madmen and madwomen come to mind. They all showed up, one way or another (under fictional names of course), in Kerouac's "On The Road". So that is why we today, in the year of the forty anniversary of Kerouac's death, are under the sign of his bio pic, "The King Of The Beats"
I have previously, in a separate entry in this space, reviewed a 1984 film documentary "What Happened To Kerouac?" that rated five stars. One reason for that rating was the almost exclusive use of "talking head" commentary of those still alive then who actually knew Kerouac, or had some primary connection with his biography and literary work. Another reason was the liberal use of film clips or audio tapes of Kerouac reading from his own works, most famously the last page from "On The Road" on the comedian/social commentator/ early talk show television host Steve Allen, who very deftly helped set the mood by accompanying the reading on understated piano. Obviously that documentary created a high standard for future efforts. While this production used that same Allen film footage to introduce and end this bio-pic that is where the comparisons end and the earlier effort proves more rewarding and gives a much better sense of the "beats", their idiosyncrasies, their madness and their struggle to survive in the cutthroat literary world. By comparison this film depends too much, much too much on staged reenactments of various scenes from Kerouac's life, some of which set my teeth on edge. It just does not work. So of the two "What Happened..." is the clear winner."