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The Broken Tower
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The Broken Tower (2011) More at IMDbPro »

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The Broken Tower -- A biography of American poet Hart Crane who committed suicide at the age of 32 by jumping off the steamship SS Orizaba.


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Down 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
James Franco (written by)
Paul Mariani (based on "The Broken Tower" by)
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The Truth is Indecent.
A biography of American poet Hart Crane who committed suicide at the age of 32 by jumping off the steamship SS Orizaba. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(96 articles)
User Reviews:
Valiant attempt to capture a problematical character See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order)

James Franco ... Hart Crane

Michael Shannon ... Emile
Richard Abate ... Father Crane

Betsy Franco ... Mother Crane
Paul Mariani ... Alfred Stieglitz
Shandor Garrison ... Gorham Munson
Stacey Miller ... Mrs. Cowley
Dylan Goodwin ... Young Truck Driver
John Morrow ... Young Sailor
Ivo Juhani ... French Man in Library

Vince Jolivette ... American Man in Paris
Fallon Goodsen ... American Woman in Paris
Caroline Aragon ... French Cafe Owner
Sebastian Celis ... Deckhand
Will Rawls ... Factory Worker

Kazy Tauginas ... Boxer
Aztec Musicians Grupo de Danza Azteca Chichimeca Ome Acati ... Musical Group
Alejandro León ... Dancer
Alejandra Sosa del Rio ... Dancer
Cármen Mera ... Dancer / Singer
Gustavo Merino ... Dancer
Natalia Careaga ... Dancer
Rodolfo Libreros ... Dancer
Raúl Contreras López ... Dancer
Anamar Romero ... Dancer / Smoke Handler
José Islas ... Musician
Carlos Moreno ... Musician
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kristen Adams ... Secretary

Franck Juste Jr. ... Factory Worker
Gary Abrams ... Angry Boxing Fan (uncredited)
Ira Berkowitz ... Poetry Enthusiast (uncredited)

Laura Burnett ... Poetry Reading Attendant (uncredited)

Christopher J. Domig ... Dancer in Tuxedo (uncredited)

Dave Franco ... Young Hart (uncredited)
Paul Galbraith ... Poetry Enthusiast (uncredited)

David Henry Gerson ... Drunken Cafe Attendant (uncredited)
Sean Patrick Murray ... Movie Theater Attendant (uncredited)
Jeff Petriello ... Sailor (uncredited)
David Rothstadt ... Poetry Reading Attendant (uncredited)

Directed by
James Franco 
Writing credits
James Franco (written by)

Paul Mariani (based on "The Broken Tower" by)

Produced by
Caroline Aragon .... producer
Nicolás Celis .... line producer: additional photography
Monica Hoenig .... line producer
Vince Jolivette .... producer
Miles Levy .... producer
John Morrow .... associate producer
Jeff Most .... executive producer
Jeff Rice .... executive producer
James Franco .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Neil Benezra 
Cinematography by
Christina Voros (director of photography)
Film Editing by
James Franco 
Production Design by
Kristen Adams 
Art Direction by
Eric Morrell 
Costume Design by
Malgosia Turzanska 
Makeup Department
José F. Carillo Serrano .... hair stylist: additional photography
José F. Carillo Serrano .... makeup artist: additional photography
Sarah Hindsgaul .... hair stylist
Sarah Hindsgaul .... makeup artist
Krystal Phillips .... additional stylist
Production Management
Julie Buck .... unit production manager
Peter Cairns .... post-production supervisor
April Shannon .... production manager: additional photography (as April Theresa Shannon)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Caroline Aragon .... first assistant director
Analeine Cal y Mayor .... second assistant director: additional photography
Jacob Kader .... second assistant director (as Jake Kader)
Jeff Petriello .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Olivia Alejandro .... set dresser: additional photography (as Olivia Vega)
Micaela Carolan .... set dresser
Rodrigo Frias .... set dresser: additional photography
Meghan Lyons .... set dresser
Jorge Alejandro Vega .... set dresser: additional photography (as Jorge Vega)
Sound Department
Neil Benezra .... re-recording mixer
Neil Benezra .... sound designer
Neil Benezra .... supervising sound editor
Samuel Kelly Benezra .... foley artist (as Sam Benezra)
Shea Kelly Benezra .... foley artist (as Shea Benezra)
Federico Gonzalkez .... sound recordist: additional photography
Dylan Goodwin .... boom operator
Maciek Hamela .... sound recordist
Alex Noyes .... dialogue editor
Laura Sinnott .... sound recordist
J.R. Skola .... sound recordist
Anthony Viera .... sound recordist
Laura Sinnott .... adr engineer (uncredited)
Gerardo Albarrán .... stunt coordinator: additional photography, Especialistas en Acción (as Gerardo Moreno)
Seth Andrew Bridges .... stunts (as Seth Bridges)
Neimah Djourabchi .... stunts
Tomás Guzmán .... stunt coordinator: additional photography, Especialistas en Acción
Drew Leary .... stunt coordinator
Isidro Mora .... stunt: additional photography, Especialistas en Acción
Brian Morvant .... stunts
Corey Pierno .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Aran .... first assistant camera (as Christopher Aran)
Stratton Bailey .... key grip
Jose Guadalupe Barroso .... electrician: additional photography (as José Guadalupe Barroso)
Peter Cairns .... camera operator: "b" camera
Peter Cairns .... digital imaging technician
Tim Curtin .... swing (as Timothy Curtin)
Alejandro Ferrusquía .... electrician: additional photography
Trevor Fields .... best boy electric
Jason Goodman .... additional camera operator
Jason Goodman .... still photographer
Robert Leitzell .... gaffer (as Rob Leitzell)
Jonathan Leys .... additional camera operator
Jonathan Leys .... camera assistant: additional photography
Beto Muñoz .... gaffer: additional photography
Peter O'Leary .... additional camera operator
Peter O'Leary .... best boy grip
Aileen Taylor .... first assistant camera
Casting Department
Analeine Cal y Mayor .... background casting
John Morrow .... background casting
Jeff Petriello .... background casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Karen Boyer .... wardrobe supervisor
Jessica Morales .... wardrobe assistant: additional photography
Abby Walton .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
Peter Cairns .... colorist
Kathryn J. Schubert .... assistant editor (as Kathryn Shubert)
Location Management
Adrian Rodriguez .... location manager: additional photography
Jason Kadlec .... location manager (uncredited)
Music Department
Gerard Talbot .... music consultant
Gerard Talbot .... music licensing
Transportation Department
David Barragán .... driver: additional photography
Edgar Canseco .... driver: Mr. Franco, additional photography
Irv Gooch .... picture cars
Paul Rosen .... picture cars
Other crew
Tiffany Boyle .... sales executive
Sebastian Celis .... key production assistant: additional photography
Gustavo Diaz .... caterer: additional photography, Monchis Catering
Peter Flanigan .... legal services
Max Friedlich .... production intern
Samuel Gilroy .... production assistant
Kevin Jacobsen .... production assistant
Alejandro Ju&aacute'rez .... production assistant: additional photography
Chris Laszlo .... production coordinator (as Christopher Laszlo)
Victor Leycegui .... caterer: additional photography, Monchis Catering
Melissa López Portillo .... production assistant: additional photography
Antonio Maceda .... caterer: additional photography, Monchis Catering
Antonin Macé de Lépinay .... historical consultant
Joffrey Monteiro-Noël .... production assistant
Fernando Morales .... production coordinator: additional photography
Jose Luis Perico .... caterer: additional photography, Monchis Catering (as Jose Luis 'Perico')
Elsa Ramo .... financial legal services
Iris Torres .... assistant: Mr. Franco
Carlo Villareal .... production assistant: additional photography
Alissa Ziyad .... production coordinator: additional photography
Janelle Garcia .... assistant to producer (uncredited)
Adam W. Rosen .... legal services (uncredited)
Doug Franco .... dedicatee
Paul Mariani .... special thanks
Ken Mate .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

USA:99 min
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

After the movie was screened at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, multiple sources reported that it contains a scene in which Hart Crane (played by James Franco) performs oral sex on another man--a scene for which a prosthetic penis was used during filming.See more »
Gorham Munson:Hart, forgive me for saying this. But you want to speak for America.
Hart Crane:Yeah.
Gorham Munson:Does it matter that you're queer?
Hart Crane:[Annoyed, rolls eyes] Whitman was queer. That's why he could love *all* of America. The roustabouts. The slaves. The, the soldiers he nursed in the Civil War.
Gorham Munson:So you will expose yourself?
Hart Crane:It's funny, considering my truckdriver left me. No. People can know everything about us when we're dead. But for now, it's better to keep quiet. For father's sake.
Gorham Munson:[sarcastically] Right. You wouldn't want to lose that tremendous job for the sake of some queer affirmation.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Hart Crane: An Exegesis (2012)See more »
Dona Noblis PacemSee more »


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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
Valiant attempt to capture a problematical character, 12 May 2012
Author: manxman-1 from bahamas

The Broken Tower is the type of movie one generally sees at minor film festivals and thence disappears into the darkness, never to be seen again. Having said that, one should never dismiss such honorable efforts simply because there is no vast audience for a film that has no special effects, extra terrestrials, car chases or gunplay (which would exclude most European movies.) Oh and yes, it's in black and white and concerns Hart Crane, a gay poet in the 1920's who killed himself at thirty two.

James Franco wrote and directed this movie, which comes across as an experimental film from a student still with much to learn. (Not knocking it, merely an observation, which is open to argument.) What the movie lacks most of all is an introduction to the many people whom Crane came into contact with during his life (from literary and social critic Waldo Frank - HUGE in his observations on American Society, to writer Malcolm Cowley and his painter-wife Peggy (Crane's only heterosexual love affair), painter Georgia O'Keefe and her husband Alfred Stieglitz, introducing Crane to Literary New York in the shape of Eugene O'Neill.) And other major influences in his life, Caresse and Harry Crosby (publishers of the Black Sun Press in Paris, who first brought recognition to William Burroughs, James Joyce etc, whose works were considered too obscene to be published in America.) WHERE is the scene where Harry Crosby (nephew of J.P. Morgan) considered the model for the Great Gatsby and the acknowledged epitome of drug-fueled extravagance and irresponsible behaviour in the 1920's, murders his mistress and kills himself while Hart is obliviously having dinner with Caresse? And what about Emil Opffer, Crane's one great love, for whom he wrote the suite of poems VOYAGES, which drop into the movie with flat readings, completely unbolstered by imaginative visuals? Nothing about Opffer's background, his family's flight from assassination in Denmark or Opffer's own experiences during World War 1. And what about Crane's mother's mental instability, her rejection of him for his homosexuality and threats to expose his sexual preferences to his father? And the meeting between Crane and Federico Garcia Lorca in 1929? Two doomed poets, both homosexual, totally unalike but both critical of American Society in the 1920's, although Crane's love for his country was absolute and eternal.

The Broken Tower does illustrate the difficulties of Crane's poetry, which in his own words is described as "A jazz roof garden method, evolved from a pseudo-symphonic construction, of an abstract beauty that has not been done before in the English language. A kind of metaphysical quotidian combination". (Wow!) At the time Crane's poetry was more appreciated outside of the United States than within. (The London Times: "Mr Crane reveals a profound originality in lines of arresting and luminous quality", whereas in the New York Saturday Review, "Mr. Crane rapes language under the impression he is paying it the highest compliment".) Poet Marianne Moore, who printed some of Crane's earliest poems, found them so impenetrable that she rewrote them without Crane's permission, an act of betrayal that devastated him.

What Crane was aiming for with his poetry was an Elizabethan accent on the American scene, drawn from the example of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, but rejecting Eliot's whole-hearted pessimism. Crane believed in America as the bridge to the future through mechanisation and he tried to infuse this in his poetry. What he ended up with was a mass of images that were so dense in their construction that the uninitiated reader would find them impossible to navigate. Crane believed in starting the journey for the reader, but forcing them to complete it on their own, which inevitably led to a great deal of frustration.

The Broken Tower is divided into various "Voyages", supposedly designed to illustrate the major events in Crane's life, drawing ever closer to his suicide. These are introduced by cue cards. For example "Hart Crane goes to Cuba" -- and we see him taking a long, long walk down a street somewhere. Or "Hart Crane goes to Mexico" -- and we see him singing in a bar with a Mexican guitarist. The pivotal moments in his life simply fail to materialize. While his alcoholism and poverty are well documented, and figure in the movie, so many other incidents are missing. The fact that he left America when the Great Depression hit, the fact that he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship that enabled him to live in Mexico during this period, but was threatened with withdrawal due to his erratic behaviour and public intoxication, is nowhere to be seen.

Another screenplay, entitled HART CRANE, written in 2008, can be found on and covers all the main incidents in Crane's life. Unfortunately, while it might be of interest to anyone seeking a fuller and more coherent version of Crane's life, it is unlikely ever to see the light of day due to the release of The Broken Tower.

Summing up, James Franco deserves kudos for having tackled such a difficult and uncommercial subject. Certainly an original interpretation of a problematical character, the chasms that exist between each "Voyage" and the lack of depth in the main character (due to the absence of any interaction with the main movers and shakers in his life) make it highly unlikely that this movie will have any lasting effect or figure in any revival. However, if this movie interests anyone enough to seek out Crane's poetry, then that is everything one can wish for -- and grateful thanks to James Franco for that.

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