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Jack Kerouac was a Beat Generation writer who took the nation by storm upon the publication of his novel On the Road. Kerouac's legacy and influence are explained via interviews with ... See full summary »
Leo is a 28 year old writer who doesn't have any friends because he finds normal people too shallow and so he hasn't found love. After an arguing with his mother he leaves into the night where he accidentally meets a group of poets, artists and philosophers who drag him to a subterranean bar where Yuri, a vagabond poet, introduces him to Mardou a beautiful blonde girl. Leo goes with the young beatnik group to every subterranean bar in San Francisco. Immediately Leo and Mardou fall in love with each other and he promises her a life together forever but their love starts to strangle Leo's ability to write. One night, out of rage, Leo snaps and has an affair with Roxanne. Mardou disappears for four days because she thinks Leo is very childish, which takes Leo to heavy drinking until she re-appears with the news that she's pregnant and they declare their love with each other by leaving the new bohemian group to be alone and start a normal life together. Written by
"Subterraneans" author Jack Kerouac was disturbed that his friend, author John Clellon Holmes, managed to get his "Beat Generation" novel "Go" into print before his own was published ("Go", in which Kerouac is a main character, was published in 1952, while "On the Road" was not published until 1957). Kerouac was worried that Holmes was plagiarizing him, although Holmes was careful to credit Kerouac with creating the term "Beat" for their generation, and much of the material was common amongst them and other writers of their circle, such as Allen Ginsberg. Ironically, producer Albert Zugsmith outfoxed Kerouac by copyrighting the term "The Beat Generation", which he used as the title of an egregious film. The 1960 movie of "The Subterraneans", made by a top studio with top talent, proved to be a major disappointment as it grossly misrepresented the scene (as well as Kerouac's novel), but ironically, it is probably the premier movie about the Beats, as so few "Beat" movies were made, the phenomenon occurring during a time of strict screen censorship in the United States. By the time censorship was lifted in 1968, the Beats had been supplanted by the Hippies. See more »
Our town changed hands six times. My mother changed hands more often than that.
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Is there anything worse than self-conscious 'intellectuals'?
There are good bad films and bad bad films - this is a skin-crawlingly embarrassing bad film. It starts with a title text about "Bohemians" who gather in Greenwich Village, London's Soho, the Left Bank in Paris, and San Francisco.
We then see George Peppard playing a frustrated would-be author shouting at his typewriter and telling his long-suffering mother he is hungry for life and needs to discover its meaning.
After this the film goes downhill as George encounters a group of Beatniks who gather in a place called the "Catacombs", call each other "man", have very intense relationships and meditate on the cosmic.
This is just a joke. A caricature of existentialism, 'beat culture' or whatever you want to call it. It also marks the point where young people starting taking themselves too seriously, felt they had "Something To Say" simply because they *were* young and that they knew how to put things right. Sorry, chaps, the world's a s**t-house and that's it. Dear San Francisco, if you think *this* is a youth movement, wait until you see what 1967 has in store.
Why this should be a Turner "Classic" Movie is beyond me (unless we're talking about some sort of "classic age" of movie-making). MGM was responsible for enough true classics for this piece of bilge to be quietly forgotten.
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