What Happened to Kerouac? (1985)

Genres - History, Language & Literature  |   Sub-Genres - Biography  |   Release Date - May 23, 1986 (USA)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This biographical documentary tackles the legend of Jack Kerouac, one of the foremost writers of the Beat Generation. Kerouac started a beat that goes on; he's still a major influence in contemporary literature and poetry. The author first broke into prominence with his famous stream-of-consciousness novel On the Road, which landed him in a very public spotlight. Some of those interviewed here, which include Allan Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Steve Allen, and other notables, maintain Kerouac could not handle the fame, or the politicization of his ideas; others contend he was simply an alcoholic who died young because he could not handle his drinking. Director Richard Lerner uses archival footage, interviews with Kerouac, home movies, and other sources to pack a wealth of information into 96 minutes.

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Keywords

alcoholism, Beatnik, fame, poet, stream-of-consciousness, writing