Read the book, see the movie…

1 Feb

The stream of books to the movie screen seems to be a never ending one, with both the high and the low brow making its way into cinemas since the dawn of time, well, the dawn of cinema that is. At the start of this year however, several have caught my eye. The first of which is Howl – starring the now ubiquitous James Franco – an adaptation of Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem that came to epitomise the spirit and style of the beat generation. As a dedicated retro-fiend of the period, glued to Mad Men, and owner of one working Smith & Corona typewriter among other things that some people would deem junk, nothing thrills me more than a look into the beatnik world of Ginsberg and his contemporaries. They had me when I saw the publicity stills of Franco at his typewriter, with those thick specs and side-parting.

The film is set during the obscenity trail that took place after the poem’s publication and intertwines scenes from this, Ginsberg’s life as he develops of his surreal style and his writing of the poem with an animated interpretation. It’s out on the 25th of February and I’m hoping to organise a small excursion for our customers, staff and book club members to go and see it. The opening lines of the poem are well known, at least when I finally read them myself, I said ‘OOHHHH…That’s what that’s from.’ All in all, I’m tempted to incite a mini Beat-fest in my next choices for the classic book club…

Another one about to hit cinemas is the new adaptation of Brighton Rock. No stranger to the big screen of course, with the 1947 version standing as an exceptional piece of British film noir and starring none other than Richard Attenborough as Pinkie Boy. The film’s imagery certainly sticks in your head; every time I try to think of the book, my mind goes straight to an image of Ida at the bar in the old pub or of the black and white piers and promenades. Even Rose’s gushing voice as she clings tighter and tighter to Pinkie throughout the film. The film was distinctly chilling, so I’m very interested to see how this is carried over (or not, as the case may be) in the new movie. This time around, we swap Brighton’s grimy streets and rough and ready crowds of the thirties for 1964 and era of mods and rockers. Out this week, I’ll be trying to get to a cinema to see that one too!

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