Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

New York: Shark Productions, 1976. Draft script by Larry McMurtry, based on the 1971 book by Hunter S. Thompson. The earliest known attempt at a film adaptation of Thompson's work, and in our estimation the rarest Larry McMurtry piece in existence. Written the year after McMurtry completed one of his greatest novels, "Terms of Endearment," and five years after he adapted his own novel, "The Last Picture Show," to the screen for director Peter Bogdanovich. McMurtry's only produced screenwriting effort since that time has been "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005, a stunning success that has the author with no fewer than 4 new screenplays in development.

"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is generally considered to be Thompson's greatest book, a fictionalized and surrealized chronicle of the drug-fueled adventures of Raoul Duke (Thompson) and Dr. Gonzo (Oscar Zeta Acosta, a Los Angeles activist and civil rights attorney) across the American West in the early part of 1971. The book would ultimately be part of what defined that decade, a time when the author was riding the highest (in every sense of the word), here translated  for the screen by a contemporary who was—and remains—a literary rough rider in his own right.

In January 1976, "Texas Monthly" announced that McMurtry had inked a contract to write a screenplay for a film adaptation of Thompson's book, and both Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone each tried to get the film off the ground, each without success.

No fewer than 23 subsequent adaptations were written, the last of which, by four credited writers (including Alex Cox) was filmed in 1998 by Terry Gilliam and starred Johnny Depp and Benecio Del Toro. In the book 'Splendors and Miseries of Being and Author-Bookseller,' a limited edition transcript of a talk given by McMurtry given to the ABAA in 1995, the author notes: "Most of [my screenplays] are in my archive at the University of Houston. The rarest of them, I believe, is the script I did of 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.' I did it for two New York lawyers. It's elusive."

Black Studio Duplicating Service wrappers. 85 page, mimeograph reproduction. Pages Near Fine, wrapper Very Good or better.


[Book #155985]