What Happened to Kerouac?

Film, Documentaries

Time Out says

A lovingly assembled mosaic of testimonials to the late lamented Daddy-O of the Beats. What did happen? Gregory Corso's guess is as good as any: 'The American media is a fucker'. The reclusive small-town boy simply shrivelled under the glare of publicity, and vowed that he'd drink himself to death since suicide was off-limits to Catholics. The dispiriting process is illustrated by footage of Kerouac reading his work on TV's Steve Allen Show in 1959, but reduced to impersonations of bleary bigotry a few years later on Buckley's 'Firing Line'. The Snyder and Burroughs interviews reveal sealed systems leaking no emotion, but Ginsberg gushes like a man in need of a washer. Biographer Ann Charters is reliable, but Corso, sounding like Mel Blanc reading from Slim Gaillard's Dictionary of Vouteroonie, is easily the best turn. Those who cling to the image of the handsome young writer toting 40 pounds of on-the-hoof manuscript in a doctor's bag will be pierced by the last twilight photos of the knock-nutty Marciano face.

By: BC


Release details

97 mins

Cast and crew

Richard Lerner, Lewis MacAdams
Gregory Corso
Jan Kerouac
William Buckley
Allen Ginsberg
Edie Parker Kerouac
William Burroughs
Gary Snyder
Neal Cassady
Ann Charters
Steve Allen
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