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The Last Words of Dutch Schultz: A Fiction in the Form of a Film Script

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  354 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Before he was gunned down in the Palace Chop House in Newark, New Jersey, in October 1935, Arthur Flegenheimer, alias Dutch Schultz, was generally considered New York's Number One racketeer. Taken to a hospital following the gangland shooting, he survived for two days. His room was guarded around the clock, and a police stenographer was stationed at his bedside in the hope ...more
Hardcover, 115 pages
Published October 31st 1981 by Not Avail (first published 1969)
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Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
Burroughs seemed to have entered a very calculated & focused new phase w/ this one. + the publishers seemed to've decided that he deserved careful layout w/ many pictures. This bk is a milestone for me, both for Burroughs & for writing in general. He gets to combine the life of a criminal & delirious writing - both neatly dovetailing.
Gabriel Valjan
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1969, Burroughs offered up to readers what I think is a neglected masterpiece: The Last Words of Dutch Schultz with had the intriguing subtitle “A Fiction in the Form of a Film Script.” No film was ever made, though. His kinky humor is there in the script and so is the nightmare, but earlier reviewers had missed one crucial fact: Burroughs had used the last words of the gangster Arthur “Dutch” Flegenheimer verbatim, a mere 2,000 of them, which police stenographers had captured at his bedside ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
One of the best books I've read by Burroughs. The format forces a certain narrative tautness on him. The subject matter, with its immersion in the world of violent crime and a certain seedy, roaring 20s milieu is a natural fit for Burroughs with his fascination for the marginal and disreputable. A wounded gangster dies in a hospital room as the police transcribe his last words hoping to find out who shot him. Instead they get a rambling overview of his life. Burroughs fills in the gaps in the ...more
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good one from Uncle Bill, but not one of the greats. This screenplay has got a lot of nice imagery plus the screenplay's style of having the film's action running alongside the sound is innovative. You feel like you're watching the movie from reading it, which is great... but this would have worked better as a book. It reads like a routine from "Naked Lunch," though maybe a little tamer. It's fun to see him go into a different literary direction with a screenplay, but this didn't ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favorites
A very strange book - strange in the beauty it reflects on a very bad person.
Perry Whitford
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
The Literary Outlaw looking for wisdom in the dying words of gibberish muttered by the Prohibition era gangster Dutch Schultz as he lay in hospital, slipping into the Big Sleep, murdered by The Mob for being too reckless.

As the sub-title suggests, this is basically a film script, fully realized with very specific directions with regards action and sound, highly experimental with quick cuts, loops, characters merging into each other, and even variations of a barking dog for a Greek chorus.

In one
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat
This is superb. Great story, extremely visual - Burroughs' finest hour if you ask me. This short 'screenplay' is based on the delirious utterings of New Jersey mobster Dutch Schultz as he slowly died from gunshot wounds. Only Burroughs could pull something off like this. and he does it with brilliant panache. the short pan-ins and pan-outs of each mini-scene shot reminded me of the highly effective and highly original cinematography of Jim Jarmusch.
Leonard Pierce
May 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Burroughs really finds his metier here. He never strays from his obsessional themes, but the format (an aborted screenplay) lets him get tighter and more precise than he's ever been, and the results are spectacular, with tons of amazing images.
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Burroughs dice and slice or a re-mix of a dying gangster's last words or thoughts that comes out of his mouth without being totally aware - or aware in quite a different manner. It's a fascinating read of 'history' in a sense, and in the hands of Burroughs it becomes very much a poetic text.
Will Lashley
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Pardon me, I forgot I am plaintiff and not defendant. Look out. Look out for him. Please. He owed me money; he owes everyone money. Why can't he just pullout and give me control? Please, mother, you pick me up now. Please, you know me. No. Don't you scare me.”
~ Dutch Schultz, aka The Dutchman, on his deathbed

When the bootlegger and gangster Dutch Schultz (original name: Arthur Flegenheimer) was shot down with four of his underlings in the Palace Chop House in Newark, NJ in 1935, the police
Apr 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Dutch Schultz was a New York gangster of the 1920s and 30s. On October 23, 1935, he was shot by Charles Workman, a hit man who worked for Murder Inc. Schultz was taken to the hospital where he remained alive for 22 more hours; during this time, he was in and out of consciousness. Detectives and a police stenographer sat by his bed, questioning him and writing down what he said. Some say that Dutch Schultz’s last words represent a mind in delirium; others think that they are clues to secrets ...more
Leggere e poi recensire una sceneggiatura non è cosa semplice. Se poi la sceneggiatura è ad opera di William Burroughs ed è stata scritta per rimanere tale, l'impresa sembra impossibile.
Un testo davvero strano, questo, che si distanzia di parecchi anni dalla precedente produzione letteraria di Burroughs; esaurite le combinazioni offerte tramite cut-up del manoscritto originale di Pasto nudo, Burroughs sembra indirizzarsi verso la ricerca di linguaggi nuovi. Sebbene l'autore dimostri, nel testo,
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've started revisiting Burroughs after years of neglect.

Based on the real life last words of gangster Dutch Schultz, Burroughs presents Schultz' life as experimental film. Burroughs' nightmarish surrealism only appears in controlled bursts. (Many argue this when his work his most effective. See my review of the new audio version of Naked Lunch I'll be writing soon.)

I recommend this book to anyone interest in old school gangsters or experimental film. It's a shame this was never shot by a good
Dane Cobain
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of Burroughs' more fascinating works, a screenplay that's based upon the death of Dutch Schultz, an American gangster who met his end after being shot in the toilet of a bar - his last words were surreal and nonsensical, and Burroughs twists them even further to give them a brand new meaning and to suit his narrative purposes.

The screenplay was never turned in to a film - in fact, it was never supposed to be one - but it should be. The screenplay's well worth a read.
Oct 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply occult, absolutely unfilmable screenplay. Satisfied my jones for literary experimentation, gangster lore and massive mojo aimed at adepts.
Louis-ferdinand Goffin
For the lovers of Old Bill. Same fever as usual in his inimitable style. Liked it !
Mike Davis
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mike is now friends w/Mick Coll &Otto"Abba Dabba Berman."
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing, slightly surreal rendering of the mob hit that killed Dutch Schultz.
Aug 01, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have the Grove Press version of this book. Fabulous and dark. Great take on the gangster's actual last words..
Craig Werner
Odd duck, even by Burroughs standards. Written as a hybrid film script, gangster novel, and psychological reverie, Last Words has moments of intensity reminiscent of Naked Lunch or The Ticket That Exploded. But most of it is pretty standard gangster rise and fall. For aficionados of Burroughts and mostly for those who have read pretty much all of the fiction.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A film script as only Burroughs could write one. Not particularly substantial or a major part of his canon, but entertaining nonetheless.
Jerome Berglund
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe this would have more impact if it included the bare context of the transcript of Flegenheimer's actual last words. Perhaps it's a brilliant weaving of it all into a narrative, but I surely can't tell from reading it alone. Reading screenplays is fraught at the best of times unless I've already seen the resulting film, but so far as I know, this was never produced, and judging from this version (as opposed to the revised Come in with the Dutchman which I have not read) it never will be. ...more
Dimitrije Vojnov
Aug 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pročitao sam leze-scenario Williama S. Burroughsa THE LAST WORDS OF DUTCH SCHULTZ: A FICTION IN THE FORM OF A FILM SCRIPT. Nažalost, ovo ima svojstvo leze-scenarija utoliko što bi bilo besmisleno realizovati ga, mada ne i nemoguće, ali mu nedostaje “čitljivost” koja bi ga kvalifikovala podesnim za ovaj vid recepcije.

Paradoksalno, ovo je leze-scenario koji bi imao više svrhe kao loš film, nego kao loš rukopis, vrlo neprohodan za čitanje, što zbog arhaične i zahtevne forme scenarija kojom se
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
una sceneggiatura cinematografica di burroughs sulla vita di un gangster anni 30: la precisione con cui vengono previsti dettagli e montaggio fa capire come l'autore ci tenesse alla sua realizzazione, e lo stile sembra vicino a quello di registi sperimentali come kenneth anger. chissà come sarebbe stato se qualcuno avesse avuto il coraggio di produrlo...
Curious. Illustrations added a great deal to the film script. Made "Dutch" Schultz quite real, albeit a shocking picture of mobster life in America 1920s and 30s.
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't brilliant, but it is an interesting sketch. Inasmuch as it removes a wall between Burroughs' mind and the reader, it's actually a pretty successful experiment. Just not a gem.
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Oct 24, 2012
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William Seward Burroughs II, (also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th ...more
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