Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Great Gatsby Film Adaptations Review

When I went to my library, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I found a TV film adaptation of The Great Gatsby on the shelf. Then when I went to place a hold on the Leonardo DiCaprio version, I stumbled upon a 1974 version. So naturally I put a hold on that one and watched it too!

Review #1: 2000 Made for TV Mira Sorvino, Toby Stephens and Paul Rudd, 90 minutes
It was a really great adaptation. It lacked the great music of the time and had a sparse sound track, but the actors were great doppleganger's of my imagination as I had read it. Especially Wolfsheim! The only actor who didn't quite meet my imagination was of Gatsby himself. He seemed a little overdone and didn't quite pull off the "old sport" phrase as easily as I imagined it should have. But then, you COULD have interpreted it as Gatsby using the phrase in a more forced "I made this my catch phrase when I came into this new identity" which I could see and appreciate that. There was only one deviation from the book that was noticeable to me, and that's how he got the Gatsby name. I liked the flashbacks to when he first met Daisy. The accident with Myrtle was quite grotesque and detailed. Overall, I really liked it. Especially the actor who played Tom, he completely embodied everything in his air and countenance that I would have suspected in Tom as well as matching the physique. While it wasn't the most detailed and left out several minor details, Nick and Jordan's relationship was definitely one of the focuses, which I think is important.

Second: 1974 starring Mia Farrow as Daisy and Robert Redford as Gatsby. 143 minutes

LOVED Robert Redford's job of Gatsby. I thought he got the "old sport" just right and the really good balance between debonaire and incredulity of Daisy coming back into his life. I felt Daisy was a bit overdone. I know she seemed really over the top in the book, but the acting just was a bit too much for me. Jordan Baker and Nick's relationship wasn't really explored at all in this adaptation, which is weird because it contained more details from the book which I really liked. However, they also took more liberties with it as well. For instance, there are only supposed to be TWO gunshots heard at the end. In this one, Wilson shoots Gatsby several times before ending his own life. Totally unnecessary. There weren't any flashbacks to when Daisy and Gatsby first met (but there also wasn't a visualization flashback of the accident with Myrtle either). I thought that Tom was a little scrawny for what I imagined, but he definitely had the self absorbed conceited part down. The other thing is that all the guys were always so SWEATY. I mean, I KNOW in the book it talks often about how hot the summer was, but the girls were NEVER sweaty and the guys faces always seemed dripping with moisture. I didn't know how to take it. The music in this one was absolutely great! Although with all the great music of the roaring 20s, they seemed to only really feature one style-the Dixieland Band on the cusp of evolving to jazz. Likewise the soundtrack was better than the TV version. 

Third: 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio, Carrey Mulligan. 143 minutes

I have to say I was disappointed in this film adaptation. Being the LONGESt adaptation I thought for SURE they wouldn't leave ANYTHING out. Yet the Owl man was left out. Other than DiCaprio's remarkably good interpretation as Gatsby, and truly amazing music, and Macguire's VERY convincing role as Nick, I felt that the others interpreted the rolls differently than me. Also, there wasn't nearly as much development in the relationship between Nick and Jordan that I felt was important to the story and Nick's outcome. Oddly enough, if you're all about making the film mirror the literature as much as possible, the made for TV version-probably with the lowest budget-is my favorite version. If you're looking for pure entertainment while keeping MOST of the story's integrity, DiCaprio's is best. The only great thing about Robert Redford's adaptation is Redford himself.

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