David Cronenberg Directs The “Unfilmable” Movie!
I’m taking part in “Banned Books Week” by focusing on great works of art that have been banned – and in this case, prosecuted for obscenity as well.
I will be sharing links so you can learn more, but first, let’s take a look at a controversial masterpiece that was banned 60 years ago!
“Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs
You can see from the cover what Newsweek thought of the book – this is a Grove Press book I bought when I was much younger…look at the $2.95 cover price for this paperback!
“Naked Lunch” follows the narration of junkie William Lee, who takes us on many journeys as well as various aliases: from the U.S. to Mexico, eventually to Tangier and the dreamlike Interzone.
The book is structured as a series of loosely connected vignettes. Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order.
The book’s subject matter deals with drug use, sexually explicit acts and obscene language, which is why it was banned!
Burroughs states in his introduction that “On The Road” Author Jack Kerouac suggested the title.
“The title means exactly what the words say: naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.”
“Naked Lunch” is considered Burroughs’ seminal work. It was controversial in both its subject matter and its use of obscene language – what Burroughs recognized and intended.
The book was banned in Boston and Los Angeles, one of the more recent American books over which an obscenity trial was held.
My paperback includes coverage of that trial:
The book was banned in Boston in 1962 due to obscenity, but that decision was reversed in 1966 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
The Appeals Court ruled that the book had redeeming social value.
It has become an iconic work of literature, and of course, Hollywood came calling…no wait, it was Canadian Director David Cronenberg who decided to tackle it!
A terrific special edition blu-ray release of the 1991 film “Naked Lunch” actually helps shine light on the original masterwork.
Here is the mesmerizing trailer – which includes Burroughs and gives a lot of information about the banned book as well!
As the intro to the Criterion Collection Blu-Ray says:
“In this adaptation of William S. Burroughs’s hallucinatory, once-thought-unfilmable novel Naked Lunch, directed by David Cronenberg, a part-time exterminator and full-time drug addict named Bill Lee (Peter Weller) plunges into the nightmarish Interzone, a netherworld of sinister cabals and giant talking bugs. Alternately humorous and grotesque—and always surreal—the film mingles aspects of Burroughs’s novel with incidents from the writer’s own life, resulting in an evocative paranoid fantasy and a self-reflexive investigation into the mysteries of the creative process.”
So this “Cult Movie Monday” gives you a chance to see how one great Artist takes another work of art and turns it into something unique…
A banned book on “banned books week” was turned into a uniquely original film.
Two of my fellow Bloggers have taken the lead in speaking out against book censorship..click on either link and you will see the current list of banned books across the country and it’s shocking what is included!
These links offer up many interesting details, and I went to each one, because the comments section is also worth reading as well…
If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…
Leave a comment if you are supporting “banned books week!”