About Time

Beat Lit's Hollywood Revival

It’s about time: 50 years since their heyday, the lives and works of three of the Beat generation’s most famous writers are finally getting their break on the silver screen. Production has begun on a movie adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s now legendary 1957 novel On the Road, as well as Howl, which will be about the obscenity trial following the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s 1957 poem. In pre-production is Kill Your Darlings, an indie film based on the story of Lucien Carr, a friend of Kerouac’s and Ginsberg’s who murdered his gay stalker. What’s the reason for the revival? According to Nick James, editor of the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine, the Beat generation is in parallel with the youth culture of today. “The 1950s have a habit of coming back every once in a while,” he said. “Before, it might have been Elvis or rock'n'roll. This may be the moment to look at the rougher side of the 1950s.”