Last Updated 09 Nov 2022

An Analysis of the 1974 Film “The Great Gatsby” and Its Comparison to the Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Great GatsbyA NovelA FilmA Review 10/4/98 The 1974 version of The Great Gatsby was produced by David Merrick, directed by JackClayton with a script credited to Francis Ford Coppola turns it into a love story that is "comatose"and while it uses more cinematic effects, they are old film metaphors: white flower symbolizing Daisy s virginal beginnings, two birds nibbling bread while Daisy & Gatsby are in Nick s cottage, Nick s stubbing out a cigarette showing his impatience during the tea, and a shot of a poolreflecting the images of Daisy & Gatsby kissing.

Furthermore, there are even more obvious filmicdevices to show the erotic relationship between Daisy and Gatsby: water fountain spurting as they dance, a candlestick burning as they dance again, and Daisy fondling copper molds & then herlover s hand. Joining Robert Redford, playing Jay Gatsby, in the film are Mia Farrow

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  • DaisyBuchanan, Bruce Dern
  • Tom Buchanan, Karen Black
  • Myrtle Wilson, Scott Wilson
  • George Wilson, Sam Waterston
  • Nick Carraway, Lois Chiles
  • Jordan Baker, Howard Da Silva
  • Meyer Wolfsheim, Roberts Blossom
  • Mr. Gatz, Edward Herrmann
  • Klipspringer, Elliott Sullivan
  • Wilson's Friend, Arthur Hughes
  • Dog Vendor, Kathryn Leigh Scott
  • Catherine, Beth Porter
  • Mrs. Mckee, and Paul Tamarin as Mr. Mckee.

Howard de Silva as Wolfsheim and Bruce Dern as Tom received praise but Sam Watersonas Nick and Lois Chiles as Jordan were considered too bland and Karen Black too broad for Myrtle. Mia Farrow s poorly disguised pregnancy bothered many as much as her uneven acting and Robert Redford s matinee-idol All-American look didn t fit FSF s description of "an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over 30,whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd." As for dialogue, even though it is from book, it is broken up like the climactic comment by Nick on "the fresh new world" or new and trite like "Gatsby: "I ll love you forever." AndDaisy:; "Be my lover; stay my lover." Gatsby: "Your husband." The Great Gatsby repeatedly investigates how photography expresses and affects the ways its characters think.

More importantly, it suggests cinematic techniques in Nick Carraway's narration. While in its largest perspective, the novel is philosophic about social, political, and psychological concerns, it deals with the disparity between the aspiration and achievement of Gatsby(the hero) and the stunning observations of the contemporary life of Nick (the narrator). He seesGatsby as great because of his innocence. In regard to how photography expresses the ways its characters think we have: --the character of the photographer Mckee who tries to capture the ideal essence of his wife on film &bungles it --Gatsby s photographs to prove his past (Oxford, Dan Cody) --Gatsby s father photograph of the house in support of Nick s photographic sensibility, turn to almost any page of the novel:--When Nick first meets Gatsby on p. 52 and describes his characteristic smile, "He smiled understandingly much more than understandingly.

It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. --When Nick sees at the end on p. 152 "Daisy and Tom sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table, with aplate of cold fried chicken between them, and two bottles of ale . They weren t happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the ale and yet they weren t unhappy either. There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anybody would have said that they were conspiring together." The most part of the novel-to-film change included the film has retained most of the 15 novel s peculiar glamour it had clumsiness in the ordering of material and frequent shifts of mood such as antifemale comments emphasis on Gatsby s evil qualities, and Daisy s desire to sleep with Gatsby for revenge against Tom and Myrtle but refusal to divorce Tom in keeping with contemporary attitudes When this adaptation came out it was negatively received and became a fiasco. Opinion sought to be revised upwards. The film is quite faithful to the book but it has a number of irritating qualities.

Its 144 minutes are too protracted; the tempo is slow; the pregnant silences are overdone; many shots are drawn-out and much dialogue, or rather speeches, as mostly people speak solo even when two are involved. Hardly any of this speech has a natural rhythm. Thesound is dubbed, too much so. It has an echoey quality which is excellent when it stresses the vastness of Gatsby's house, but then this spreads to other sounds and speeches. There's an overdone moody solemnity about the picture. At the same time, the film has fine moments and a great deal of touching melancholy and Fitzgeraldian disenchantment.

Flaws notwithstanding, the actors are affected. Nelson Riddlecontributes a wonderful 20's score with mood-enhancing songs. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald'sfinest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all ofits decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition,greed, and the promise of new beginnings.

Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream. It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for DaisyBuchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, inone of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear.

When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. At the beginning, I found this book difficult and boring, however, when I continued to read, I was attracted by it. The thing that most attracts me is the description of the characters, the words are beautiful. Besides, the author successfully creates the mysterious background of Gatsby, which attracts me to read in order to find out the truth. I by thorough investigation think that the book is much more interesting than the movie.

A great story, set in a great time Fitzgerald shocks us with his portrayal of the roaring twenties. He lures us with his simple but misunderstood characters. He finishes it off with his incredible ability to paint a picture of a decade so out of control. Through the narrator, Fitzgerald gives us insight into Gatsby's true character that others in the novel either don't pick up on, orignore. The only thing I didn't like about this novel is Fitzgerald's occasional use of the cheesy metaphor that other's find so eloquent. However, I'd have to say that this was one of the more enjoyable books I read this past year and the movie only added to it.

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