In this essay, an attempt is being made to compare and contrast the poem ‘Howl’ against the film by the same name and analyze the contrasts and similarities found in both these media.
The speaker explains in the first section of how he was a sad witness to the destruction caused to some of “the best minds” in the generation during which he lived, thereby reviving the Beatnik era once again. Following the riotous era of Rock and Roll, they were the first to initiate and disengage themselves from the orderly post-war years. Following them was the age of Hippies, Woodstock and the rest that came behind. (Roger Ebert, 2010) The young generation was primarily Ginsberg’s audience because they were able to identify themselves with it, since the poem was capable of touching the inner core of their being. A good example of this can be seen in the opening lines of the poem which says –
However, ‘Howl’ the film evokes a more balanced and serious presentation with a more youthful Allen Ginsberg wearing a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles and does not look anything like the ‘angel-head hipster’ (Allen Ginsberg, 1955, p.1) destroyed by madness. Secretly, he did nurture a desire to be one, but somehow couldn’t bring himself to reveal the secret he had within his heart. However, in the film ‘Howl’, he reluctantly discloses that he did not wish to publish his poem, because he did not want his father to find out the secret, which was his homosexuality.
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the writer- directors of the film ‘Howl’ took into account the new Beat scene with its smoky coffee- houses, where the reading of poetry was quite common. James Franco plays Ginsberg with due meticulousness and restraint and is shown in a 1955 coffee house reading the poem, as smoke envelops the audience, giving the scene a very authentic appeal. Another important