James Franco gives a career-defining performance as the young Allen Ginsberg-poet, counter-culture adventurer, and chronicler of the Beat Generation-in Howl, the audacious film from Academy Awardr-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Franco as Ginsberg recounts the road trips, love affairs, and search for personal liberation that led to the most timeless, electrifying, and controversial work of his career: Howl. Pushing the limits and challenging the mainstream, the passionate and provocative Howl and its publisher found themselves on trial for obscenity, with prosecutor Ralph McIntosh (David Strathairn) setting out to have the book banned, while defense attorney Jake Ehrlich (Jon Hamm) fervently argues for freedom of speech and creative expression. The proceedings veer from the comically absurd to the passionate as a host of unusual witnesses (Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams, Alessandro Nivola) pit generation against generation and art against fear in front of conservative Judge Clayton Horn (Bob Balaban).
- James Franco in conversation with directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman – an all new feature length audio commentary
- Holy! Holy! Holy! The Making of Howl – featuring directors Epstein and Friedman and stars James Franco, Jon Hamm, David Strathairn, Treat Williams, Bob Balaban, poet Anne Waldman, and others
- Directors’ research tapes – original interviews with Ginsberg’s friends and collaborators Eric Drooker, Peter Orlovsky, Tuli Kupferberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Steven Taylor
- Allen Ginsberg reads Howl – never before seen footage from a performance in 1995 at the Knitting Factory in New York
- James Franco reads Howl audio feature