Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gatsby: The Movie



The Great Gatsby is probably my favorite book of all time.

I must have read Gatsby at least half-dozen times.  More recently, over the past five years, it has become a summer ritual for me to listen to actor Tim Robbins read Gatsby on my iPod.

(OK, I know that sounds a little weird, but there it is).

I don't know what it is about Gatsby that fascinates me.  The characters are all basically nihilists - no one seems to truly believe in any values or principles beyond basic desires. Gatsby's pursuit of Daisy is obsessive, almost to the point of unbelievability.

Even narrator Nick Caraway - who describes himself as "the most honest person he knows" - seems to have no problem setting up Gatsby's clandestine meetings with Daisy, or having an affair with Jordan Baker while still having a relationship with another woman in the Midwest.

This morning's London Telegraph had a good article written by Guy Stagg about Gatsby. Mr. Stagg may have put his finger on one of the reasons I and many others like reading Gatsby so much:


The Great Gatsby is all about imagination. The characters create enchanted, deluded visions of one another. And so does the reader. F Scott Fitzgerald gives us a few memorable symbols, like the green light at the end of Daisy’s garden, and a few striking personal details, such as Gatsby’s gorgeous smile, and the reader imagines the rest. In our minds the characters become far more vivid than anything on the page.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/guystagg/100063515/despite-the-great-gatsbys-incredible-trailer-baz-luhrmann-is-attempting-the-impossible/

Hollywood has always had a difficult time capturing the magic of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books on the big screen - the 1974 Great Gatsby movie starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow was a disappointment both to watch and at the box office.

This Christmas there is another, more modern version of Gatsby coming to a theater near year.  The trailer posted above suggests that the story will be told in a much different fashion than either the book or the Redford film.

I am doubtful the new film will be as effective as the book, but I am looking forward to seeing it.