Twelve Monkeys marks the commercial high point of Terry Gilliam's association with American studios. Commenting on the genesis of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson gives the account of what Gonzo journalism should be in its purist form. Gilliam's own cinematic practice regularly involves experimentation, failed, frenzied and successful, but Thompson's honest assessment of the completed text's shortcomings hints at the difficulties of recreating his literary experiment on screen. The anarchic verve of Thompson's attack bears the most obvious affinity with the tone, form and imagery of Gilliam's major and most personal film of the 1980s, Brazil. Raoul Duke had appeared in Thompson's Hell's Angels, and the idea that he existed seemed confirmed by the article titled 'Police Chief: The Indispensable Magazine of Law Enforcement' published under Duke's byline in Scanlan's Monthly.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.