Heart Beat plus footage from The Hand (Work-in-Progress)

John Byrum's account of the menage-à-trois between Jack Kerouac and Neal and Carolyn Cassady was received with mixed reviews, criticized by Kerouac fans for the embellishment of the account, and for a certain strain for sophistication in the dialogue. But Richard Corliss, writing in the Soho News in April, calls Heart Beat “the best-looking, most intelligently designed film of the year,” and cites the photography of Laszlo Kovacs and the craftsmanship of the director Byrum in creating “a series of vignettes - really tableaux, one-shot, stationary-camera scenes that make a story point, catch a glance or a feeling, evoke a state of mind.” Stephen Farber speaks to the issue of historical accuracy vs. nostalgia vs. sheer enthusiasm:
“Byrum's passion ignites the movie, and the sheer power of the subject carries the film right over its gaffes and dead spots.... Most people now think of the fifties as a giddy era of sock hops and hula hoops.... Heart Beat recalls another side of the period - the bohemian movement and outlaw culture that flourished right alongside the organization men in gray flannel suits. Yet perhaps the greatest strength of the film is that it does not present the beatniks as anarchic revolutionaries waging a guerrilla war against the system. Byrum reminds us that the tensions of the period often existed within the same people who were torn between a hunger for freedom and a longing for security....”

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