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by Larry McMurtry
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  • Author:
    Larry McMurtry
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  • Publisher:
    Chivers (June 1999)
  • Pages:
    354 pages
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    1429 kb
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    1858 kb
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    1599 kb
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The Last Picture Show. Originally published: New York: Dial Press, 1966. He began to come out of it when he bought the picture show, or so people said.

The Last Picture Show. He got lots of comedies and serials and Westerns and the kids came as often as they could talk their parents into letting them. Then Sam bought the poolhall and the all-night café and he perked up more and more.

The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed and co-written by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a l 1966 novel The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry. Set in a small town in north Texas from November 1951 to October 1952, it is about the coming of age of Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and his friend Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges).

In The Last Picture Show Larry McMurtry introduced characters who would show up again in later novels, Texasville .

In The Last Picture Show Larry McMurtry introduced characters who would show up again in later novels, Texasville and Duane's Depressed. This first volume of the trilogy drops the reader into the one-stoplight town of Thalia, Texas, where Duane Moore, his buddy Sonny, and his girlfriend Jacy are all stumbling along the rocky road to adulthood. Los Angeles Times McMurtry can transform ordinary words into highly lyrical, poetic passages.

The Last Picture Show book. This is one of McMurtry's most memorable novels - the basis. Larry McMurtry describes an orange bulb glowing over the back seat of a school bus and the amorous activities of the two seniors sitting underneath it, but as he does through much of his sometimes poignant, sometimes flagrant, ultimately magnificent coming-of-age novel published in 1966, the state of being a teenager in the northern plains of Texas of the early. 1950s is what McMurtry is writing about. Larry McMurtry, Peter Goldman. The last picture show.

The reason word got around so fast was that Lester told several of the younger kids about it just before he left. He told them he and Jacy were going to swim naked, just like everybody else. He told them he and Jacy were going to swim naked, just like everybody else lmost past belief, but when the kids saw him actually drive away with Jacy they instantly believed it and began to talk about it. Nothing wilder had ever been heard of in Thalia-it was even wilder than actually making out, because that was customarily done in the dark and nothing much could be seen. In no time there were groups of excited boys standing around, speculating about.

Larry McMurtry wrote at the beginning of the book: The Last Picture Show is lovingly dedicated to my home town. The Last Picture Show is a lovely book, a bit sad sometimes. It’s depicts well adolescence in small towns but shows that wherever you are, teenage angst is surprisingly alike. He was born in 1936 in a small town in Texas and he was 30 when this novel was published, which means his memories from his adolescence were fresh in his mind. This dedication is important because it sets the tone of the book with the word lovingly. Thalia is the kind of town an adolescent could loathe. It’s narrow-minded, small and boring. That comes with being human.

The basis for a classic film, The Last Picture Show is both extremely funny and deeply profound. And, with the eccentrically peopled Thalia, Texas, Larry McMurtry made a small town that feels as real as any you've ever walked around. Famously filmed by Peter Bogdanovich in 1971 with Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd. With a new introduction by Mary Karr.

Mysterious Wrench
Small, dying towns have a way of scraping along far past what it seems like their expiration dates should be, a stubborn romanticism cementing their residents in place. Like Thalia, the fictional Texas town where Larry McMurtry sets The Last Picture Show. Oil keeps Thalia together, provides roughnecking jobs for the local working class boys, and keeps the town's wealthiest family, the Farrows, in their relatively cushioned niche. Gene and Lois Farrow's spoiled, beautiful teenage daughter Jacy is the apple of every boy's eye and when the story starts, she's chosen her blue-collar classmate Duane as her boyfriend. She doesn't really have especially strong feelings for Duane, but she likes that he's in the backfield on the football team and that he adores her and buys her things. That he's poor enough to piss off her parents is icing on the cake.

But the book isn't really about Duane. It's sort of about Jacy, but it's really about Sonny, Duane's best friend, and their senior year in high school. Sonny is just kind of drifting along without much direction, being mediocre at sports and crushing on his best friend's girl, until he finds himself in an affair with Ruth, the football coach's neglected wife. He's thrilled to be getting laid regularly and fond of Ruth, but their affair triggers something deeper for her. Stuck in a bad marriage she made to rebel against her parents, she feels seen and desired for the first time in her adult life, giving her back some of her dampened inner fire but also making her heart-wrenchingly dependent on the attention of a teenage boy. And when Jacy sets her sights on Sonny, well...heartbreak is in order.

One of the things that struck me particularly about this novel was the lack of romance in the way that McMurtry dealt with sex. The experience of sex for the characters ranges from the purely transactional (both Sonny and Duane sleep with hookers) to the deeply meaningful (the way that Ruth views her assignations with Sonny). It felt more honest than either treating it consistently as either a purely physical exercise or A Mystical Union Of Two Souls. There's even a range of feeling about sex within the characters themselves: for example, Jacy sleeps with the besotted Duane as a means to an end of losing her virginity to be more attractive to another man and coolly leaves him shortly thereafter, but she's genuinely hurt when she has sex with the local pool hustler because she feels real desire for the first time in her life and it turns out she's just a a way he's acting out towards his own lover. It hits on the way that sex actually works in real life, with a wide spectrum of meaning depending on the content, and it's just part of why the novel rings so true and so real.

Sonny's not a bad guy, despite his sometimes cavalier treatment of Ruth's feelings. He's just young and is still feeling his way into becoming an adult. Which is pretty much everyone's situation, including the adults themselves...it's the rare coming-of-age story that doesn't neglect the older generation. The idea that we're all just trying to figure out how to be a grown-up is what gives the novel its power. I loved this book and the way it took you inside the character's heads (mostly Sonny, Jacy, and Ruth, but a few others) and let you see situations and other characters from different perspectives. It creates a sense of people, not just characters, on the page. It felt like a tour of loneliness, in a way: everyone in the story is lonely and trying to deal with that loneliness in their own way. Everyone's grasping at something they think will help that seems tantalizingly just out of reach. Which isn't just small-town life, to be certain, but cities seem to have more to offer to distract from that emptiness. The people of Thalia, though, just have their aching hearts. It's not a long book, but I found it so compelling that I blasted right through it. Simple but vivid prose and emotionally honest characters made it hard to put down.
I saw the movie version of this book when it came out in 1971. I was 18 years old at the time and I was blown away by its realistic depiction of sex and what it means to come of age in a small town. It has been one of my favorite movies ever since. But I didn’t get around to reading the novel until this year. Lately, I have been making it a habit of reading the novels that are based on my favorite movies (Paths of Glory, Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, etc.). What I find interesting about the movie is how closely it follows the novel. This is not always true with many movies based on popular or unknown novels. Usually Hollywood finds one reason or another to monkey with the plot or the characters to come up with something that might be more acceptable for the audience or the studio’s standards of the times. But Bogdanovich, the director, is faithful to the novel’s description of the characters and, more importantly, the movie’s script adheres very closely to the dialog in the novel. This is obviously a result of having Larry McMurtry, the author of the book, serve as co-writer of the screenplay for the movie. McMurtry has a great ear for the language of West Texas and it comes through brilliantly when spoken by the actors in the movie.
But there are some key differences between the novel and the movie For one thing, the book, written in 1966, five years before the movie was produced, is surprisingly far more explicit about sex. There are many more scenes in the book that describe sex between the characters in very erotic detail. For example, the sex scenes in the book between Sonny and Ruth Popper, the coach’s wife, go into great detail about what they did in bed and how they felt about it. Also, there are several chapters in the book where Sonny and Duane have sex with prostitutes, including on the trip to Mexico, which is not part of the movie. Not only that, but Sonny and Jacy Farrow’s mother wind up having sex near the end of the book after his marriage with Jacy is annulled by her parents. And last but not least, while the characters in the movie talk about having sex with barnyard animals, in the book several of the young boys actually have sex with a heifer in a feedlot during a drunken Saturday night. For reasons that are partly due to the restrictions of Hollywood at the time and for legitimate character modifications, I feel that most of these exclusions of sexual explicitness are understandable and do not take anything away from the integrity of the plot or the characters. In fact, I would argue that some of the restraint in how sex is dealt with between the book and the movie is a result of the maturity of McMurtry as a writer in understanding that suggestibility and implicitness in sex can be more effective in conveying passion than being highly descriptive and explicit. In other words, I don’t feel that the movie is diminished in any way by the “sanitization” of the book. They are both true to their form.
The beauty of the book is the writing style of McMurtry. In my view, no movie can ever capture the voice of a first-rate writer. That is one reason why every movie based on a Hemingway novel always seemed to be a failure. But what makes up for McMurtry’s lyrical voice is the direction and cinematography of Bogdanovich and Robert Surtees. In fact, in my opinion, it is Surtees who steals the show. He brings the lyricism of the novel to life in a way that I have never seen before or since. I don’t think I have ever seen a cinematographer who really seemed able to capture the mood and language of a novel like he did in this movie. It is simply brilliant and McMurtry should be grateful that he was so lucky to have had such a brilliant film making crew to adapt his novel to the screen. The book and the film are both classics of American literature film of the 20th century. Both of them should be appreciated equally. So, my suggestion is to not only see the movie but definitely read the book so you can experience the best in both American literature and film in one story.