52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
MacAdams kindles Beat flame,
By A Customer
This review is from: What Happened to Kerouac? [VHS] (VHS Tape)
In a subject where "expert" commentary frequently brings to mind overused, deflated balloons or some flaccid, rubbery French pastry, this film is a nonpareil. Amazingly, MacAdams has drilled into a motherlode of material elsewhere untapped; sources include the fiercely protected estate of Kerouac (evident through a rare, outstanding recording of Kerouac reading parts of Dr. Sax high on tea; Tulane historian Douglas Brinkley is now sifting through all of it), Ken Kesey's Merry Prankster footage (live reels of Cassady!), Kerouac's later, soused appearance on Buckley's "Firing Line," and interviews with central figures in Kerouac's life and in the Beat movement: John Clellon Holmes, Diane DiPrima, Michael McClure, Carolyn Cassady, Herbert Huncke, Joyce Johnson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, and (best of all) Gregory Corso (watch for the explanation of "the classy spirit"). The film is simply produced but marvelously filmed, with picturesque footage of Lowell and video-style film of New York and San Francisco accompanying Kerouac recordings of "Lucien Midnight" and "October in the Railroad Earth." Ideas are developed shrewdly, craftfully with simple back-and-forths between different horse's mouths. There is no narrative voice-over or gaseous postulation. MacAdams achieves what any good documentary maker or journalist strives for: he turns on your radio, sets the dial to his station, then plainly broadcasts a seriously static-free, seriously hip FM song. Dig it.