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FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS

About The Production

At once a brilliantly idiosyncratic commentary on what Hunter S. Thompson referred to as "The Foul Year of Our Lord, 1971" and a decidedly exaggerated account of a personal odyssey careening between the hilarious and the horrifying, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has today become required reading on many college campuses. Gonzo journalism is landmark literature, an aberration of the "New Journalism" of the '60s.

It hit stands on October 10, 1971 on the cover of the fourth anniversary issue of Rolling Stone (#95), which introduced to readers not only the inspired works of Hunter S. Thompson, but the demented illustrations of Ralph Steadman. After the second part of the series appeared the following month in RS96, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream became the premiere offering of Jann Wenner's Straight Arrow Books, jolting critics to acclaim. A series of Thompson/Steadman adventures went on to capture pivotal moments throughout the '70s (the Presidential campaigns, the Super Bowl), and "Fear and Loathing..." entered the American vernacular, a brand­name like Kleenex or Draino.

The fact that the book remained unfilmed for more than 25 years is a testament to its singularity and perhaps to the notion that it was waiting for the right filmmaker. And so, when Terry Gilliam made himself available to apply his unique talents to the material, it was a perfect marriage: a work by one of America's most visionary writers, brought to the big screen by one of film's most visionary directors, mostly set and partially shot in one of the world's most peculiarly visionary cities.

Most of Gilliam's previous films, including Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys (not to mention the entire Monty Python series and motion pictures there of) indicate a belief that madness is ultimately the only way in which otherwise sensitive and perceptive human beings can deal with the insanity of the world. Beyond these thematic concerns, Gilliam's abilities to create the impossible on film with his extraordinary visuals and sure­footed dramaturgy (as clearly demonstrated throughout his career as a ground-breaking director, writer and animator) are an appropriate match for the ever­shifting "realities" of Thompson's book, in which the utterly surreal becomes almost commonplace.

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