No matter if it’s the movie or the book, everyone loves the Great Gatsby. I remember seeing the movie with Redford and Farrow long before I actually read the book in Jr. High. To this day the 1974 (year of my birthday) is still by favorite 3 movies made from the book. Technically there are actually 4 films but the first movie, released 1926 did not withstand the test of time. Only a trailer of the silent film exists to date. The 1949 version starring Alan Ladd was just silly, no really it was silly. For some reason director Elliot Nuggent turned this decadent novel into a dark noir film. Yes, J. Gatsby was connected to the mafia but that story line always lurked in the shadows of the novel. For some reason Nuggent thought a gangster film would be more of a box office smash.
Interesting note about the 1974 film, Francis Ford Coppola was the screenwriter. He was brought on board by studio exec Robert Evans but Coppola claims that most of his original script was not used for the final film. Coppola was not available for edits because he in the process of writing The Godfather. Nuggent’s Gatsby was about as close you can get to being real, filmed in Newport and wardrobe was spot on the for period. If Nuggent’s was as real as it can get then the 2013 reboot by Baz Luhrmann was ripped from the book for decadence and opulence you read in the book.
Luhrmann’s show stopper style was filled with extreme eye candy. The reason why most people had issue with the film was the casting. Di Capprio and Mulligan had no onscreen chemistry and Mcguire’s Carraway was way off base when you compared his performance to Sam Waterstone. I agree with both of them. But it was Elizabeth Debicki who really stole the show from the rest of the cast. her portrayal of Jordan Baker was on a whole new level. Initially I also had issue with Luhrmann’s excessive hip hop references in the film. But after spending the past month of hunting down music to be played at the cabaret evening, I have come to appreciate Lurmann’s hip hop remixes and mashups on the soundtrack.
Gatsby is well loved because it truly gave history a snap shot of life during the Jazz Age or the Roaring 20’s. While it was a story about the unobtainable, people gush over the love story and the hope for future once lost.