Pull My Daisy
Pull My Daisy (1959) is a short film that typifies the Beat Generation. Directed by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, Daisy was adapted by Jack Kerouac from the third act of his play, Beat Generation; Kerouac also provided improvised narration. It starred poets Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso, artists Larry Rivers (Milo) and Alice Neel (bishop's mother), musician David Amram, actors Richard Bellamy (Bishop) and Delphine Seyrig (Milo's wife), dancer Sally Gross (bishop's sister), and Pablo Frank, Robert Frank's then-young son.
Based on an incident in the life of Beat icon Neal Cassady and his wife, the painter Carolyn, the film tells the story of a railway brakeman whose wife invites a respected bishop over for dinner. However, the brakeman's bohemian friends crash the party, with comic results.
Originally intended to be called The Beat Generation the title Pull My Daisy was taken from the poem of the same name written by Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Cassady in the late 1940s. Part of the original poem was used as a lyric in David Amram's jazz composition that opens the film. (In 1959, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released a feature film called The Beat Generation.)
The Beat philosophy emphasized spontaneity, and the film conveyed the quality of having been thrown together or even improvised. Pull My Daisy was accordingly praised for years as an improvisational masterpiece, until Leslie revealed in a November 28, 1968 article in The Village Voice that the film was actually carefully planned, rehearsed, and directed by him and Frank, who shot the film on a professionally lit studio set.
The impromptu narration juxtaposed with particular shots portray the Beat Generation in an autobiographical sense. The film editing process began with a picture lock and was a conservative, narrative story arc conceived by Jack Kerouac, directed by Alfred Leslie and shot by Robert Frank. The narration was then improvised by Kerouac resulting in a film that defines the Beat Generation, making a comment on a number of topics representative of conservative America, including protests against industrialization, education, anti-Semitism, sexuality, gender roles, religion and patriotism.
- Cohen, John (8 August 2008). "Is Pull My Daisy Holy?". photo-eye Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- Pull My Daisy at the Internet Movie Database
- Guardian article mentioning the play Beat Generation and the fact that Pull My Daisy was pulled from its third act.
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