Howl is an upcoming biopic of Beat-generation poet/poster-boy, Allen Ginsberg, portrayed by James Franco. The film, written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeremy Friedman, is structured around the 1957 "Obscenity Trial," a landmark case that was spurred by the controversy of Ginsberg’s poem "Howl" and would later serve as a key legal precedent in guaranteeing First Amendment rights for controversial literary works.

While Allen Ginsberg (along with his famed compatriot Jack Keruaoc) are continually celebrated today as the Great Beats of the late 1950s – the making of Howl is evidence enough of this fact --  it should be noted that Paul Goodman was very much as significant a “man of letters” as any of them.  In fact, Goodman and Ginsberg were personal colleagues, often attending the same literary events and reciting at the same poetry readings.  In their own time, Goodman was just as popular, prolific, and inspirational as the Ginsbergs and Kerouacs, but his untimely death has somewhat muddled this legacy.  It’s a shame that Goodman is not as celebrated as his Beat peers.  I suspect, too, that Goodman will not have a part in the film, though he very much should.  Nonetheless, Howl (the film) should prove to be a very insightful portrayal of the time and circumstance that both Ginsberg and Goodman were responding to.

Currently, the film is showing at international film festivals, and will be released nationwide on September 24, 2010.

See the trailer here.