If you, at the very least, have a passing interest in the Beat Generation, then you will definitely get a kick out of this oddball short film from 1959 called “Pull My Daisy.” The film stars Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky as themselves, more-or-less, and they’re invited into the home of a railway brakeman whose wife had invited a bishop over for dinner. After getting bombarded with a barrage of questions from the beat poets (“Is a cockroach holy?), the bishop leaves in a bit of a huff, much to the dismay of the wife.
The short is set in the Lower East Side of New York and it’s shot in a very loose, casual, off-the-cuff style. The entire film is narrated by novelist/poet Jack Kerouac who also wrote the short. It was shot and directed by photographer Robert Frank and Abstract Expressionist painter Alfred Leslie, and according to Frank, the short actually had a thorough rehearsal period and was coordinated with great care. This may come as a surprise for those who watch the short, as the entire thing feels so improvised and in-the-moment.
Overall, it’s a fun little half-hour short, with an added bonus of seeing artists that are right in the middle of their prime and listening to Jack Kerouac’s stream-of-consciousness form of narration. Again, let it be reiterated, the entire short is narrated by Kerouac. There’s no audible dialogue throughout the entire thing; the only voice we hear is Kerouac’s, and it’s pretty trippy. Check it out. [Dangerous Minds]