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Film / Pull My Daisy

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Pull My Daisy is a 1959 short film (30 minutes) directed by Robert Frank and Albert Leslie. Jack Kerouac starred in the film as himself, and also wrote the screenplay, which was adapted from his play Beat Generation.

Milo is a railroad brakeman. He and his wife have invited their local bishop over for dinner. Unfortunately for Milo's wife, her husband is friends with a group of eccentric beatniks, including Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The eccentric beatniks make the dinner go awry.

Inspired by a real-life incident with the "Milo" character being Neal Cassady, who also inspired the character of Dean in Kerouac's On the Road. Delphine Seyrig made her film debut as Milo's wife.


  • As Himself: Kerouac, Ginsberg, and their fellow Beat poets Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso appear as themselves.
  • Beatnik: Milo's wife upbraids him for letting a bunch of beatniks spoil dinner with the bishop. And although the original Beats weren't truly "Beatniks", Kerouac's sassy disrespect for authority, as well as the little improvisational jazz concert the gang has towards the end, are true to the beatnik stereotype.
  • Chiaroscuro: Filmed in stark black-and-white with some mood lighting, like when the bishop and his mother are shown as black silhouettes against the sun streaming in from the door.
  • Imagine Spot: At one point Kerouac imagines the bishop's talk as him giving a speech, with Milo's wife holding an oversized flag on a staff—the flag keeps hitting the bishop in the face.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Well, they were writers. But naturally, Kerouac and Ginsberg have to talk about poetry and writers and such.
  • No Name Given: Milo's wife is never named.
  • Narrator: No synchronized sound was recorded. Instead, Kerouac gives an irreverent narration throughout in which he delivers all the "dialogue" himself.
  • Round Table Shot: An exceedingly slow one of all the people sitting around the table at dinner. This is a visual echo of the opening shot of the film, which is a slow pan around the empty apartment.