Max Schwartz’ Film ‘Hyacinth’ Details Friendship with Jim Morrison

Max Schwartz in "Hyacinth"
Max Schwartz in "Hyacinth"

The Max Schwarz “Hyacinth” article that was previously here was published before (in heavily edited form) by AXS Entertainment, which is not authorized by Jim Cherry. We are replacing that article with Jim Cherry’s original. Remember, is your only approved Doors Examiner source!

America has a tendency to forget its poets. Jim Morrison knew this and he took a shortcut to get his poetry known, through rock ‘n’ roll. Upon reflection in a later interview he said that, perhaps, “I would have gone for the quiet, undemonstrative artist, plodding away in his own garden.” That’s the path Max Schwartz took, to a point. Schwartz was a college friend of Morrison’s, he starred in Morrison’s first UCLA student film “First Love” and went on to become known as “The Mad Poet of San Francisco.” Rod Pitman’s “Hyacinth” is the intertwined story of Morrison’s friendship with Schwartz, the student film they made together, and the path Schwartz took in life.

Max Schwartz was a history major at UCLA because he wanted to study World War II to find out why people kill each other. He met Jim Morrison at UCLA through Max’s girlfriend Liz Buckner, and a friendship ensued amongst the three. Schwartz may have cut a romantic figure to Morrison, as Schwartz was the bearded poetic type riding around L.A. on a vintage motorcycle. Morrison would cast Schwartz and Buckner in his student film “First Love,” which captures a voyeuristic filmmaker photographing a woman. “First Love” exists only because Schwartz expressed an interest in it and Morrison gave him a copy before burning his other films and notebooks prior to leaving UCLA. “First Love” plays a big part in “Hyacinth,” but also explores Schwartz’s later life as a poet.

Schwartz was a renowned poet who counted Allen Ginsberg among his friends. Ginsberg once asked Schwartz why he always yelled his poems and Schwartz asked Ginsberg if he had ever heard of passion. Schwartz’s poetry has a definite beat philosophy to it, including images of the natural world while acting as a conscience of America. Schwartz was invited to poetry festivals world-round including a pre-Desert Storm Baghdad. In 2003, Schwartz sat down with filmmaker Rod Pitman and was concerned that his legacy would be forgotten. Pitman and his camera don’t forget, and in “Hyacinth” you’ll discover a poet as controversial as Jim Morrison and one you won’t be able to dismiss or forget.

Ed Note: this last paragraph has been slightly changed because of links becoming old and inactive. Liz Buckner was interviewed for The Doors Examiner, and her recollection of her relationship with Max and Jim Morrison is interesting to see, for aspects that corroborate each other and a slight difference in perspective.

Originally published October 16. 2014.

Ed Note #2: “Hyacinth” is no longer available on Vimeo, nor could I find the full movie on Youtube, so I’ve substituted Mr. Pitman’s Facebook page.

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