The Baz Luhrmann/Jay-Z/Leonardo DiCaprio-fueled cinematic offering of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby is another in a long line of adaptations (both for big and small screen) that have seen men like Robert Redford, Alan Ladd, Robert Ryan, and Paul Rudd stepping into the shoes of bootlegging millionaire playboy Jay Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby has a surprising list of adaptations beyond the film adaptations that include one-off tv episodes for shows like Playhouse 90, Great Books, Robert Montgomery Presents AND television homages on shows like Californication (second season is said to be a modern take, which kicked off with the second episode titled “The Great Ashby”); a 1999 opera commissioned by the New York Metropolitan Opera; radio serials; numerous book adaptations including a vampire-narrated The Late Gatsby and Jake Reinvented (think The Great Gatsby meets Dawson’s Creek); theater adaptations; songs written about TGG characters and bands named after them (Gatsby’s American Dream)…and, you guessed it – video games!
But the reason for the season this time around is that the last remaining footage of a 1926 silent film version has emerged.
When The Great Gatsby was published in 1925, Paramount Pictures and director Herbert Brenon shot said silent film based on Owen Davis’ stage adaptation starring Warren Baxter (Gatsby), Lois Wilson (Daisy), Neil Hamilton (Nick), Georgia Hale (Myrtle) and William Powell (Wilson).
While the film stayed faithful to the tale of money, success, fame and glamor, critics were not kind and the Fitzgeralds themselves weren’t any kinder; with Zelda herself saying in a letter, “We saw The Great Gatsby in the movies. It’s ROTTEN and awful and terrible and we left.”
The Fitzgeralds both died before seeing any of the other adaptations that occurred thereafter but I have a feeling they would’ve enjoyed seeing Robert Redford in the titular role from the 1974 version because, hey, he’s a good lookin feller.
I seriously still have a crush on Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby, as it should be with ANY guy who plays Gatsby.
I wonder what the Fitzgeralds would think of Luhrmann’s offering and if they’d approve of DiCaprio…I think they would. Change isn’t always a bad thing!
It’s bright, it’s beautiful, it’s coming to theaters May 10th
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