Saturday Double Feature: The Great Gatsby (2013) and…

Hey, it’s Saturday again, which means it’s time for another Saturday Double Fature, right? Remember, the basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before.. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

I’m going to be honest, I have no desire or intention to watch Baz Luhrmann’s new take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic The Great Gatsby.I’ve never been a fan of Luhrmann’s overblown visual style, and this seems set to simply be more of the same. If that’s your thing, cool, I hope you enjoy it, but it past experience and the trailer posted below just do nothing to turn me on.

However, one thing that may surprise many, including myself when I first found it out, is that this is actually the fifth version of the film/book to hit theaters, so it seems appropriate to look to one of the earlier takes for this week’s double feature. The only real question was which one to pick. There is a 1949 version starring Alan Ladd that was a heavy contender, but in the end I decided to go with the third take on the book, from 1974. According to the brief from Paramount,

great_gatsbyRobert Redford stars as self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby, who uses his vast (and implicitly ill-gotten) fortune to buy his way into Long Island society. Most of all, Gatsby wants to win back the love of socialite Daisy Buchanan (Mia Farrow), now married to “old money” Tom Buchanan (Bruce Dern). Calmly observing the passing parade is Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston), Gatsby’s best friend, who narrates the film. Francis Ford Coppola’s screenplay is meticulously faithful to the original novel, but Theoni Aldridge’s costume design and Nelson Riddle’s nostalgic musical score won the film its only Oscars. The huge supporting cast includes Howard da Silva, who played Tom Wilson in the 1949 Great Gatsby, and a very young Patsy Kensit as Daisy’s daughter.

Hmmm… with that cast list and pedigree, one can’t help but wonder why this wasn’t a bigger hit and why it is little remembered today. Perhaps the trailer provides a clue?

Well, that certainly seems more low-key than the newer production. Perhaps that was its downfall? I don’t know.

Anyway, what do you think? Have you seen any of these other versions of Gatsby? If so, what’s your take on them or which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below, along with any ideas you might have for other pairings with Gatsby or for other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!


2 thoughts on “Saturday Double Feature: The Great Gatsby (2013) and…

  1. Love the new version (I saw it yesterday) the 1974 version is pretty blah. The Redford version ignores that The Great Gatsby is a fantasy being told by an unreliable narrator and approaches the story through a realist lens. The larger than life approach Luhrmann uses is more true to the books and more fun to watch!

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