Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009:

Today we had two phenomenal actors on set playing witnesses in the Howl trial.

First, Treat Williams appeared as the defense's star witness, Mark Schorer - a renowned intellectual, one of America's leading critics, and a professor at UC Berkeley in English, as well as Chairman of Graduate Studies in English. (He published three novels, about 75 short stories, and numerous literary criticisms). Treats easy-going demeanor and laid-back intelligence created a character that had nothing to prove; he was assured in his defense of Howl and was not tripped up by McIntosh's insistence on dissecting specific words in the poem as part of his quest to find obscenity in Howl.

Treat's demeanor was a sharp contrast to the prosecution witnesses dogmatic approach as to what constituted great literature and what was mere smut. This attitude was brilliantly and fiercely embodied by Mary-Louise Parker, bedecked in a blonde wig as Gail Potter, a teacher and radio personality, who bragged in her testimony that she had
rewritten the classic dramas Faust and Everyman, which unintentionally drew chuckles from the courtroom audience. A self-satisfied smile crept onto Mary-Louise's face as she said that without a doubt, "I think [Howl] has no literary merit".

Incredibly, every word of testimony in this film was taken directly from the transcripts of this remarkable trial.

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