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The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  20 June 1997 (USA)
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Neal Cassady is living the beat life during the 1940s, working at The Tire Yard and and philandering around town. However, he has visions of a happy life with kids and a white picket fence.... See full summary »


(as Stephen T. Kay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosie Trickle
Mary Greenway
Pat McNamara ...
Father Fletcher
Nurse Waring
Mrs. Greenway (as Christine Rose)
Meadow Sisto ...


Neal Cassady is living the beat life during the 1940s, working at The Tire Yard and and philandering around town. However, he has visions of a happy life with kids and a white picket fence. When his girlfriend, Joan, tries to kill herself he gets scared and runs away. But when Joan reappears will he take the chance at that happiness, or will he turn his back on it? Written by Katie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A love story with consequences See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 June 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elämän harhapolut  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,836 (USA) (20 June 1997)


$12,836 (USA) (20 June 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The letter this movie is based on was referred to by its author Neal Cassady and its recipient Jack Kerouac as "the Joan Anderson letter" (even though the only extant fragment more prominently and dramatically dealt with a different girlfriend of Neal's at the time nicknamed Cherry Mary). This letter, written in Dec. 1950 about events in Cassady's life from the summer thru Christmas of 1945, was *lost* c. 1954/55. But before that happened a 5,000 word fragment (which this movie is based on) had been copied (retyped) likely by Kerouac himself, and was subsequently published in 1964 in a small S.F. literary magazine called "Notes From Underground," then again later in Cassady's posthumous autobiography "The First Third" (beginning "To have seen a specter isn't everything ..."). The entire 16,000 word letter by Cassady - which Kerouac had praised as a turning point in his approach to writing - was never seen again after 1955 - and consequently became something of a Holy Grail in the Beat world. Miraculously, in 2012, the entire letter was found after nearly 60 years (!) ... in old boxes that had been stored since being rescued from the Sausalito publisher Golden Goose's garbage when it folded in 1955. It's set for auction on Dec. 17th, 2014. See more »


The epilogue notes that Neal Cassady died in 1968 at the age of 42. In actuality, he died four days before his 42nd birthday. See more »


Neal Cassady: My role in all this was to make her feel better. Better than what?
See more »


Jingle Bells
Performed by Dianne Reeves
Courtesy of Blue Note Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A superb piece of filmmaking
4 February 2003 | by (PA) – See all my reviews

I am writing this because I am in stark disagreement with a certain editor. This little film shows excellent directing, cinematography and acting. It stands as testimony against, and is infinitely better then, most of the talentless "indie" wastes of time that you'll see in the country's smaller theaters today. Thomas Jane BECOMES a young Neal Cassady, and displays one of the finer performances you'll ever see on film. In fact, the acting is excellent overall (To which the director should be praised). Admittedly, if you are interested in the legend of Neal Cassady this movie is going to be much more interesting to you. Still, even if you are not, it is a fine story of unrequited love, with humor and the spirit of the enjoyment of life. It is a touching period piece, excellently delivered and exceptionally written. The other Cassady-driven movie (unrelated to this cast and crew) - "Heart Beat" (1980) - hits you like a stale yellow lamp on a boring Sunday afternoon by comparison. This film is vivid and beautiful. It is a shame that a film of this caliber is being ignorantly shuffled under the carpet, becoming prematurely harder to fine with each passing day, while the constant deluge of mindlessness produced by the big studios becomes marketed ad nauseam over the course of decades. Stephen T. Kay made the kind of film that inspires filmmakers.

The soundtrack - also becoming harder and harder to find - cannot be beat (It remained untouched from my CD player for months). Personally, I had never been a fan of jazz music before owning it.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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