Pull My Daisy
This is the only film the core Beat writers of the 1950's actually
created themselves. They participated in the creation of a few,
almost all of them hokey failures like the film version of
but "Pull My Daisy" was not a hyped-up commercial effort by a Hollywood
studio but rather a fun and largely spontaneous experiment,
arranged in 1959 by the well-known photographer
Robert Frank along with
They enlisted the participation of
who offered in place of an original screenplay a stage-play he'd never
finished writing, "The
Beat Generation." The plot is based on an incident in the life of
and his wife
They're raising a family and trying to fit in with their suburban
neighbors, and one night they invite
a respectable neighborhood bishop over for dinner. But Neal's
Beat friends crash the party, and that Marx-Brother's-like
scenario is the closest thing this film has to a storyline.
We do not see Kerouac on camera, but he provides the voice-over as
act out the scenes.
Seeing this film today, the most striking thing about it is that
everybody involved seemed to be having fun. It's not an incredibly
great film and it certainly doesn't hold together perfectly as either
comedy or drama. But it's short and clever and provides a wonderful
glimpse into the lives of the major Beat writers at a time when they
were still not too trapped by their legendary personas to do something silly
in public, just for the sake of doing it.
It's also cool to consider that, along with being ahead of their
times as literary figures, Kerouac and Ginsberg and Corso
anticipated the 80's/90's film-culture phenomenon known
as the "indie"!
Other Beat-related films