The Great Gatsby Essay

The Great Gatsby Term paper

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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 symbolizingDaisy 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 theydance, 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 .... DaisyBuchanan, Bruce Dern .... Tom Buchanan, Karen Black .... Myrtle Wilson, Scott Wilson ....George Wilson, Sam Waterston .... Nick Carraway, Lois Chiles .... Jordan Baker, Howard DaSilva .... 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 forMyrtle. Mia Farrow s poorly disguised pregnancy bothered many as much as her uneven actingand Robert Redford s matinee-idol All-American look didn t fit FSF s description of "an elegantyoung roughneck, a year or two over30,whoseelaborate formality of speech just missed beingabsurd." As for dialogue, even though it is from book, it is broken up like the climactic comment byNick 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 waysits characters think. More importantly, it suggests cinematic techniques in Nick Carraway snarration. While in its largest perspective, the novel is philosophic about social, political, andpsychological concerns, it deals with the disparity between aspiration and achievement of Gatsby(the hero) and the stunned observations of 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: --thecharacter 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 sphotograph 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 smiledunderstandingly much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a qualityof eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. --When Nicksees 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 ,andneither of them had touched the chicken or the ale and yet they weren t unhappy either. Therewas an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anybody would have said thatthey were conspiring together." The most part of the novel to film change included the film having retained most of the novel s peculiar glamour it had clumsiness in the ordering of material and frequent shifts of moodsuch as antifemale comments emphasis on Gatsby s evil qualities, and Daisy s desire to sleep withGatsby for revenge against Tom and Myrtle but refusal to divorce Tom in keeping withcontemporary attitudes When this adaptation came out it was negatively received and became a fiasco. Opinionsought to be revised upwards. The film is quite faithful to the book but it has a number of irritatingqualities. Its 144 minutes are too protracted ;the tempo is slow ;the pregnant silences areoverdone ;many shots are drawn-out and much dialogue, or rather speeches, as mostly peoplespeak solo even when two are involved. Hardly any of this speech has a natural rhythm. Thesound is dubbed, too much so. It has the echoey quality which is excellent when it stresses thevastness of Gatsby's house, but then this spreads to other sounds and speeches. There's anoverdone moody solemnity about the picture. At the same time, the film has fine moments and a great deal of touching melancholy andFitzgeraldian disenchantment. Flaws notwithstanding, the actors are affecting. Nelson Riddlecontributes a wonderful 20's score with mood-enhancing songs. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--somethingextraordinary 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 apermanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsbyembodies 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 gracebecomes 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 youngLouisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby servesoverseas, 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 ofDaisy, 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 acrossLong Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits forher 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 was difficult and boring, however, when I continuedto read, I was attracted by it. The thing that most attracting me is the description of thecharacters, the words are beautiful. Besides, the author successfully creates the mysteriousbackground of Gatsby, this attracts me to read in order to find out the truth. I by thoroughinvestigations think that the book is much much more interesting than the movie. A great story, set in a great time Fitzgerald shocks us with his portrayal of the roaringtwenties. He lures us with his simple but misunderstood characters. He finishes it off with hisincredible ability to paint a picture of a decade so out of control. Through the narrator, Fitzgeraldgives us the 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 cheesymetaphor that other's find so eloquent. However, I'd have to say that this was one of the moreenjoyable books I read this past year and the movie only added to it.

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