The Broken Tower (film)

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The Broken Tower
Film poster for The Broken Tower
Directed by James Franco
Produced by James Franco
Caroline Aragon
Vince Jolivette
Miles Levy
Christina Voros
Screenplay by James Franco
Based on Novel & Biography:
Paul L. Mariani
Starring James Franco
Michael Shannon
Music by Neil Benezra
Cinematography Christina Voros
Edited by James Franco
Distributed by RabbitBandini Productions
Release dates
  • June 20, 2011 (2011-06-20) (LAFF)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Broken Tower is a 2011 American black-and-white student film directed, written, produced, edited by and starring James Franco. The film was made by Franco as his Masters thesis for his MFA in filmmaking from New York University. The film is about American poet Hart Crane. Franco appears in the starring role as Crane along with Michael Shannon as one of Crane's lovers. The Broken Tower made its world premiere in April 2011 at Boston College. It was shown at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) in June and released on DVD in 2012.


Franco thought of the idea for the film while reading Paul Mariani’s biography of Crane, also entitled The Broken Tower after the name of one of Crane's poems, on the set of his 2002 movie Sonny. Franco had publicly stated that the poet's tragic life story attracted him to the material.[1]



Its world premiere was held at Boston College on April 15, 2011. Franco chose to debut it at that venue since Mariani is a professor of English there.[2] The Broken Tower was screened at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival on June 20.[1] It was among more than 200 feature films, short projects, and music videos from more than 30 countries to be selected.[3] It was released on DVD March 2012.

Critical response[edit]

Critical response to the film was largely negative.[4] In one critical review, Elizabeth Weitzman from The New York Daily News writes, "It’s not an insult to say the black-and-white film looks like a grad-school thesis project, since that’s what it is (for Franco’s MFA at NYU). . .But that does mean you should be prepared for some high-minded pretension, lots of self-consciously arty shots, and long stretches of apparently profound nothingness."[5] Although Weitzman is critical of Franco's writing and directing, she does compliment the film's cinematography and Franco's acting. In a review in The Village Voice, Melissa Anderson wrote that the film was "sincere, amateurish, and misguided" and that it was full of literary biopic cliches.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pfefferman, Naomi (June 15, 2011). "James Franco Q & A: His Film on Tortured Gay Poet Hart Crane". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved June 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Monaghan, Peter (April 11, 2011). "James Franco Brings Hart Crane to the Big Screen". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved June 19, 2011. 
  3. ^ Kaufman, Amy (May 11, 2011). "2011 Los Angeles Film Festival will welcome stars Guillermo del Toro, James Franco, Ryan Reynolds and more". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes website
  5. ^ Weitzman, Elizabeth. Movie Review: The Broken Tower. The New York Daily News. 27 April 2012.[1]
  6. ^ Anderson, Melissa. "The Broken Tower." Village Voice: 25 April 2012

External links[edit]