Friday, March 9, 2012

On The Road, S-O-O-N

Finally the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1951 book, On The Road, is set for release on May 23. The premiere is coincident with the Cannes Film Festival. Francis Ford Coppola owns the rights to Kerouac's works. The project has had a turbulent history and has been slow in coming to fruition. With Copolla as the lead producer, Brazilian director Walter Salles has completed the final mixing and editing of the film in Paris.

The story line chronicles the adventures of two principal characters, (Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity.) The book, divided into five parts, frames the restlessness and wonderlust of Sal and Dean, as well as their own complex and personal interactions, as they move around the United States and Mexico. Many of the myriad characters throughout the book are based on real people. As for Sal, he is Jack and  for Dean, Neal Cassady.

Keouac's work is the epitome of the Beat Generation. In truth, the time frame from 1947 to 1950 seems a looooong way off now. It is an impossible proposition to think the Apple generation could much identify with the gusto and the possibilities of post World War II America. Nonetheless, great tales and yarns and delineations, in theory, live forever. In theory..., it is hard to bring up any such ruminations from the ninth century right now...

Jack Kerouac was an American hero (anti-hero) in his own right. Restless, inquisitive and passionate, he lived life as if could feel every ripple. Now, re-reading the book and awaiting the film, his spirit is no less diminshed over time. Indeed! To get a sense of the Kerouac's persona read this copy of a letter the author typed to Marlon Brando...

Main characters - played by

Sal Paradise - Sam Riley
Dean Moriarity - Garrett Hedlund
Marylou - Kristin Stewart

Mr. Kerouac typed the book on a continuous roll of teletype paper. It measured 120 feet in length! That actual manuscript is currently owned by Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianopolis Colts. Having paid $2.43 million for it, he allows public viewing of it and the oddity has been exhibited throughout the world. The first thirty feet of the manuscript is unfurled.

And so it is with great anticipation that the film is awaited. Likely, there will be a rekindling of those heady times, when America was without limit of potential greatness. It was after all a time when the post war USA was the western world exemplar. Perhaps On The Road will give a boost to America, a much less confident country of present day religious and political embroilation. Two more months....


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