From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Chappaqua is a 1967 American film, written and directed by Conrad Rooks. The film is based on Rooks' experiences with drug addiction and includes cameo appearances by William S. Burroughs, Swami Satchidananda, Allen Ginsberg, Moondog, Ornette Coleman, The Fugs, and Ravi Shankar. Rooks had commissioned Coleman to compose music for the film, but his score, which has become known as the Chappaqua Suite was not used. Ravi Shankar then composed a score.
The picture has become a cult film.
The film briefly depicts Chappaqua, New York, a hamlet in Westchester County, in a few minutes of wintry panoramas. In the film, the hamlet is an overt symbol of drug-free suburban childhood innocence. It also serves as one of the film's many nods to Native American culture. The word "chappaqua" derives from the Wappinger (a nation of the Algonquian peoples) word for "laurel swamp."
- Jean-Louis Barrault as Dr. Benoit
- Conrad Rooks as Russel Harwick
- William S. Burroughs as Opium Jones
- Allen Ginsberg as Messie
- Ravi Shankar as Dieu du Soleil
- Paula Pritchett as Water Woman
- Ornette Coleman as Peyote Eater
- Swami Satchidananda as The Guru
- Moondog as The Prophet
- Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg, Ken Weaver and three others as The Fugs
- Rita Renoir
- Hervé Villechaize
- Penny Brown as the nurse