The Great Gatsby (1949) Image: http://i.imgur.com/S95qov5.jpg width=550
By 1949 F. Scott Fitzgerald had pretty much been completely forgotten, an unwanted relic of the frivolous Roaring '20s. As it happened, Paramount was desperately searching for a vehicle to suit their top star Alan Ladd, and discovered they owned the rights to something called The Great Gatsby
, having filmed the novel before as a silent. Since the book dealt with bootlegging and gangsters (kinda), the studio figgered it could provide a role for Ladd as well as exploit the increasing postwar nostalgia for the carefree and innocent Twenties (every generation thinks the previous one was carefree and innocent).
So this film version of TGG
has been filtered through Hollywood's standard noir gangster structure, in the same way the '49 version of All The King's Men
was. As a result it's not completely faithful to the book -- at one point Gatsby is shown shooting a guy from a moving car! But it's much better as a movie than the Redford version, and I shudder to even think what Baz has done to Scott, the poor dumb son of a bitch.
IMO it's Ladd's best performance (and that includes Shane
). The noir look (photography, art direction) is very good. And best of all, there's no rap. The eyes have it Confrontation at the Plaza hotel Publicity photo intended to make people think TGG was a gangster movie (also note Ladd wearing fedora and trenchcoat in the poster) A really, really weird publicity photo
Special extra added bonus addition: The Trailer for the silent 1926 version
Unfortunately the film itself is lost. The trailer is the only surviving footage.
Interesting to see how the material was filmed in the era it was written. Image: http://i.imgur.com/FV5AgcB.jpg width=500