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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Great Gatsby - a good interpretation
I read the book for my book club. Having done so I wanted to see the film interpretation. I found it a good reflection of the book (so many films are not!)The choice of actors was inspired. Robert Redford made a 'Great Gatsby' - just as I imagined him from the text. Bruce Dern, Lois Chiles and Sam Waterstone (as the narrator)were also well cast. I was disappointed with...
Published on 11 Mar 2010 by S. P. Withers

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good film for a great novel.
The first cinematographic version of Great Gatsby in 1949, with Alan Ladd as Jay Gatsby, was very impressive, but the story didn't coincide with that of the story. The film-script underlined more the adventurous part of Gatsby's life, which in the book was not even merely touched; and naturally, stressed the romantic affair between Jay and Daisy more than Fitzgerald's...
Published on 13 Jan 2001 by

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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Great Gatsby - a good interpretation, 11 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] (DVD)
I read the book for my book club. Having done so I wanted to see the film interpretation. I found it a good reflection of the book (so many films are not!)The choice of actors was inspired. Robert Redford made a 'Great Gatsby' - just as I imagined him from the text. Bruce Dern, Lois Chiles and Sam Waterstone (as the narrator)were also well cast. I was disappointed with Mia Farrow - only in that she did'nt meet my expectations of Daisy but I think if I had'nt read the book I would have been satisfied. My husband - not having read the book - was pleasently surprised that the film had a lot more to offer than the 'romantic' story he had expected. The fabulous written text was not lost in the film and reflected the wealthy twenties in the USA beautifully. A 'must see' for readers of 'modern classics' and anyone who enjoys a story that does'nt quite end the way you expect.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great "Gatsby", 20 July 2008
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] (DVD)
This stunning production with its splendid cinematography and its intelligent script by Francis Ford Coppola captures the essence of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel of the man who pursues his preposterous dream. Robert Redford is utterly convincing as the enigmatic protagonist, Gatsby, whose personality "seemed to face . . . the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you, with an irresistible prejudice in your favor" [Fitzgerald, Chapter 3]. Young Sam Waterston portrays a believable Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald's narrator and empathetic observer; and Mia Farrow is pitch perfect as the shallow, spoiled young woman whose "artificial world was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery and orchestras which set the rhythm of the year, summing up the sadness and suggestiveness of life in new tunes" [F. Ch. 8]. Farrow's performance makes us understand how Daisy's porcelain beauty and fecklessness could ignite the obsession of a man who has, after all, invented his own persona. Both of them are equally unreal.

The production values are superb. The settings, the music, and magnificent costumes--the pastel beaded silks and satin pumps, the feathered head-dresses--convincingly portray privileged wealth of the 1920s, which would soon plummet into the Depression--the great Valley of Ashes that infected the 1930s and indeed contaminated the entire twentieth century.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This impressive film arrives on a solid, but unspectacular, blu ray transfer., 6 Oct 2013
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
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This 1974 classic brilliantly captures Fitzgerald's icy tragedy of careless people and their impact on those doomed souls, foolish enough to love them. Redford is dazzling in the lead role and is splendidly supported by Farrow, Waterston and Dern. Jack Clayton does not put a foot wrong in his evocation of a superficial world of superficial people into which wander very human beings who are subsequently destroyed by what they experience.

Jay Gatsby - the complex and enigmatic self-made title character - is a hero of epic proportions, whose tragic flaw is the depth of his love for Daisy Buchanan. Like so many other of Fitzgerald's "heroes" (eg Dick Diver in " "Tender is the Night" etc etc) he pays a harsh price in his attempt to "save" the woman he adores and enter a social milieu which is far less meaningful than his own world - where love actually does exist and whose virtues of loyalty and caring are undervalued. As such the film is true to the book's theme - and is about a perverse hubris which both motivates two of the films central characters to enter a world of superficial glamour - but where exists no enduring values - and is directly responsible for their deaths. As a character says to Gatsby at the film's penultimate moment " You are better than all of them" - and of course he is.

The new blu ray transfer is satisfactory and produces the look of the original film quite well but be aware that the source material was deliberately shot soft, by award winner Douglas Slocombe, so that fine detail is not very pronounced. Still we are given more clarity than was available on the earlier SD DVD and the fabulous sets and flamboyant costumes and design are displayed with much higher levels of sumptuous detail, and visual irony, than we have previously experienced outside of the pages of the novel - although its famous reference to Gatsby's enormous library of un-opened books, is regretfully omitted in the film itself!

The audio transfer doesn't wow but it's certainly an improvement on the SD version too and most definitely the early VHS copies where - because of copyright problems - the evocative original score ( in which the song "What Will I Do" is so resonantly employed) was actually replaced by a utilitarian and meaningless musical soundtrack on that first commercially available transfer!

Yes, ultimately the film has barriers for some viewers. It is is long - it's cool ironic stance will not appeal to those looking for a traditional romance - and the unsympathetic characters and the deliberate portrayal of their "casual racism" may alienate some too. But if you accept that this is a decidedly bitter look at obsession, class, and prejudice which doesn't want to pull it's punches - and is true in spirit and intent to Fitzgerald's novel - for those looking for fine filmmaking - I think it will provide considerable interest and a profound - if desperately sad - emotional journey.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very accurate to the book, 12 April 2010
This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] (DVD)
the film version of the book is brilliant,very accurate. you can read the book along with the film perfectly, even most of the lines are the same.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great gatsby review, 8 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] (DVD)
I have been studying The Great Gatsby for my English literature class and I found watching the film helpful and I found it true to the book. Many of the images and characters were as I had imagined and it made it cleared in my mind when I came to write about it.I would reccoment it to anyone studying the book, or just want to enjoy a piece of "Jazz Age" nostalga.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Divine darling!, 27 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] (DVD)
I read the Fitzgerald novel recently, and having realised it fitted perfectly with my desire to teach a topic at A2 based on "The Other"/"The Oustider", I realised that it would be a perfect novel to teach. So, it followed that I would see what the film is like and how it may help to imagine the world the novel is set in.

Filmed in hazy bright white 1920s style (with subtle 1970s styling) this film is delightful to watch purelt based on the aesthetic it presents.

Like any film adaptation it takes liberties with the original text, but this is one that is very true to the original and feels authentic.

For those who are like me and enjoy watching films for their beauty in cinematography, costume and setting, this is a great film. The acting is good and transmits the awkward, strange, dream-like feeling of the novel.

A film well worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Gatsby [1974] [Blu-ray] [US Import], 20 July 2014

The '20s never roared louder than in this sumptuously romantic retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age classic. Robert Redford stars as Jay Gatsby, who had once loved beautiful, spoiled Daisy Buchanan [Mia Farrow], then lost her to a rich boy. But now Gatsby is mysteriously wealthy... and ready to woo Daisy back. A winner of two Academy Awards, The Great Gatsby features a fine supporting cast and an elegant script by Francis Ford Coppola. And at its centre is the opulent evocation of an era of hot jazz and cold champagne, of women as exotic and demanding as hothouse flowers, and of lives made soft by too much, too soon.

FILM FACT: The film won two Academy Awards, for Best Costume Design [Theoni V. Aldredge] and Best Music [Nelson Riddle]. It also won three BAFTA Awards for Best Art Direction [John Box], Best Cinematography [Douglas Slocombe], and Best Costume Design [Theoni V. Aldredge] (The male costumes were executed by Ralph Lauren, the female costumes by Barbara Matera.) It won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress [Karen Black] and received three further nominations for Best Supporting Actor [Bruce Dern and Sam Waterston] and Most Promising Newcomer [Sam Waterston].

Cast: Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Bruce Dern, Sam Waterston, Karen Black, Scott Wilson, Lois Chiles, Edward Herrmann, Howard Da Silva, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Regina Baff, Vincent Schiavelli, Roberts Blossom, Beth Porter and Patsy Kensit

Director: Jack Clayton

Producer: David Merrick

Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola

Composer: Nelson Riddle

Cinematography: Douglas Slocombe

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Running Time: 144 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – ‘The Great Gatsby’ is one of those books frequently described as un-filmable, and Jack Clayton's version is a good example of a movie that captures the letter of a great novel while missing its spirit. Scott F. Fitzgerald's careful poetry is visited here only in snippets of voiceover narration. The structure of the book is well-observed, and its characters impersonated by good actors. Unfortunately, the likely response to the show at the fade-out is still going to be, "Maybe I should read the book someday."

Paramount Pictures lavish production was its biggest offering for 1974, and one that fell flat at the box office. Scott F. Fitzgerald wrote about the wealthy, superficial class of a bygone age, and all the period decor and costumes don't make them any more accessible to our emotions. Robert Redford and Mia Farrow are perfectly cast in many ways; yet the static, interior tone of much of the tale prevents either the romance or the drama from coming alive.

Well-bred but relatively poor Nick Carroway [Sam Waterston] summers on Long Island, and becomes embroiled in the romantic problems between his mysterious neighbour Jay Gatsby [Robert Redford] and the Buchanans across the bay, Tom and Daisy [Bruce Dern and Mia Farrow]. Tom is carrying on with Myrtle [Karen Black], the wife of garage mechanic George Wilson [Scott Wilson]. Gatsby uses both Nick Carraway and Buchanan’s friend Jordan Baker [Lois Chiles] to reintroduce himself into Daisy's life: Nick and Daisy were a couple during the war, but she didn't wait for him. Now Gatsby has bought a mansion and holds lavish parties just to be near Daisy and dream about winning her back.

It's complete and faithful, but ‘The Great Gatsby’ just doesn't catch fire. Francis Ford Coppola's screenplay has the same adaptation feel as his much earlier This Property is condemned, right down to the literal transposition of the novel's symbolism. Scott F. Fitzgerald's giant eyeglasses on the billboard are indeed the eyes of God staring at George Wilson's miserable gas station in the middle of a wasteland. You'd think that the Long Island rich would beautify the roadway going to their luxurious neighbourhoods, and what works as a literary conceit in the book just seems too literal here.

The same goes for Scott F. Fitzgerald's portrait of the vast wealth of the Long Island rich. The females are appropriately vain and superficial like Daisy Buchanan, and the men bigoted snobs like her husband Tom. On the page we might interpret the opinion of narrator Nick Carraway, but movies can't express opinions. These people are exactly what they are, living lives remote from reality and indulging their private fantasies.

Francis Ford Coppola can't help but make Jay Gatsby's possible links to the underworld plainly obvious. Even if no proof is offered, we see Gatsby associate with dapper Howard Da Silva, 'the man who fixed the 1919 World Series', and assume there's a crooked connection. We see Gatsby's gun-toting bodyguard. We hear Gatsby's evasions about his income and his past. If Nick Carraway doesn't draw conclusions, we certainly do.

If anything, Nick is too soft on Gatsby, who awkwardly uses both socialite Jordan Baker and 'poor neighbour' Nick to facilitate his affair with Daisy. Robert Redford plays the reclusive millionaire the only way he can be played, mysteriously. Robert Redford does perfectly well. It's just that when Scott F. Fitzgerald's elusive character becomes an image on film, he stops making sense. The Gatsby we see is an incurable romantic who stares off across the ocean hoping to recapture a dream. Yet he's also meant to be the kind of man who could amass a huge fortune in three years in business, the kind of profits never reported in the papers. We could imagine an older Gatsby softening and trying to recover a lost past, but this man is young. We spend over two hours hearing about his romantic obsession for Daisy, but we don't feel it. Gatsby does so very little ... even the heavy dramatic scenes are mostly static. Yes, obsession makes one blind, but it's no fun watching Gatsby catch up with things we see right away. Daisy's a thoughtless narcissist who isn't going to let anything inconvenient interrupt her lifestyle; she lives in a fantasy world perfectly happy to do without the lost love of her youth. In real life, people don't always 'make sense.' In a movie, it's hard to respect or even understand a character like Gatsby. He's a character meant for the printed page.

‘The Great Gatsby’ is a multi-levelled reverie of a bygone age, with the amiable Nick Carraway providing our advent into an affluent, alien world. He's the author's representative, the fly on the wall and the spokesman for Scott F. Fitzgerald's sentiments. In the movie, he's almost an obstruction. Nick's discreet presence in the famous scene where Gatsby shows Daisy his collection of shirts is almost laughable; as the two lovers wax ecstatic over the joy of haberdashery, Nick is moved to tears and exits as if from a sacred reunion. When Scott F. Fitzgerald tells us that the atmosphere was charged with an inexpressible joy we accept it, but on screen we look for harder evidence. When Daisy runs her hand down sensuously down a long line of brass gelatine moulds in Gatsby's kitchen, finally reaching Jay's hand, we're seeing the limitations of literal film.

Producer David Merrick lined up a top cast who do remarkably good work under Jack Clayton's ponderous direction. Bruce Dern is solid, but we don't associate him with this kind of character and keep expecting him to revert to psycho mode. That's a shame, but it's true ... the few scenes we see of Bruce Dern as a likeable nice guy in Black Sunday make us wish he'd never been cast as a heavy. The losers played by Karen Black and Scott Wilson are almost the only people in the film who don't regularly dress in evening wear. Since we know perfectly well that the story won't show them any mercy, we're not surprised when the Buchanan’s utterly destroy them. Poor Miss Black has so little screen time, we don't even sympathize with her - she's as embarrassing to us as she is to Tom Buchanan. Gorgeous Lois Chiles, later Roger Moore's playmate in ‘Moonraker’ lacks depth; we thoroughly believe Nick wouldn't become interested in her, and not just because she's too rich and he's too poor.

The Great Gatsby is awash in production values that don't achieve the desired illusion of the past. The costumes and cars are photographed so so, that they look just like what they are - costumes and collector's automobiles. The same year we had the film ‘Chinatown’ which effortlessly established its depression era with a fraction of the trimmings. The Great Gatsby doesn't have a feel for its period as such, even if the hairstyles are for once fairly accurate. Most of the songs we hear are lyrics that are still familiar 80 years later; ‘The Night They Raided Minsky's’ uses an unknown Victrola tunes here and there immediately transport us to 1925. I'm told that the score is the original and I have been read that the original score hasn't been heard on video versions. The parties on Gatsby's lawn are like a nostalgic magazine layout - there's an element beyond the visual that's missing.

Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘The Great Gatsby’ is presented on Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. Director Jack Clayton and cinematographer Douglas Slocombe favour a lot of diffuse light and even occasional soft focus lenses throughout this film, which some may mistake for a so-called "soft" looking transfer. This is actually a lustrously beautiful high definition presentation that very ably recreates the original film appearance. Grain is still very much in evidence, and fine detail is abundant, helped immeasurably by Jack Clayton's favouring of extreme close-ups throughout the film. Colours are very accurate looking (it's such a pleasure to watch a film that hasn't been colour graded to within an inch of its life) and very well saturated. There are some very minor stability issues, which are almost not really worth mentioning.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The Great Gatsby features a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix that doesn't over aggressively repurpose things for a surround mix, and in fact plays things relatively conservatively. I was in fact kind of surprised in the opening credits how the "ghost music" was anchored in the front channels rather than being discretely splayed through the surrounds. Later, however, in the first of the big party scenes, Riddle's source cues are clearly pumping out of the rear channels while the party sounds emanate from the front and side channels, giving a nice sense of aural depth. Dialogue is almost always front and centre, but is clear and easy to hear and uniformly well prioritized in the mix. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range has a few spikes in the more crowded sequences.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Unfortunately, the disc doesn't feature any form of supplements to perk up the release, as I am sure hidden in some vault is loads of behind the scene look at the making of the film, or even interviews with the main actors. At the very least, this Blu-ray offering provides subtitle options in English SDH, Spanish, and French.

Finally, on the surface, ‘The Great Gatsby’ shines as a stately adaptation of its source novel. However, it focuses too much on the impeccable visuals that the pacing readily suffers early on in the story. It offers plenty of show, but it doesn't dig deep the way Scott F. Fitzgerald's original material cloaks his social criticism within his involving tale. Like the characters, this cinematic rendition reveals a shallow and self-absorbed demeanour that lacks dramatic momentum. In any case, it is worth checking out for its good points and its attachment to a great American classic. Despite a lot of negative criticism of this film, I personally love this particular version, as I felt it gave the flavour of what America was like in the Roaring 20’s period of time and I was so pleased when I saw it was going to be released and now I am also very pleased it has gone pride of place in my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good supporting actors, 8 Dec 2010
Mr. P. G. Mccarthy (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] (DVD)
It's obviously a treat to sit and watch a Scott Fitzgerald adaptation but there are mixed blessings here. The film certainly carries the atmosphere of the book and there is some wonderful acting, but the impact of the film is far weaker than that of the book. Robert Redford seems uncomfortable playing the role of Gatsby; Mia Farrow, on the other hand, throws herself into her role as Daisy Buchanan but is not really the Daisy of the novel. She's a flapper, certainly, but lacks the money orientated charisma of Fitzgerald's Daisy. The best acting goes to the supporting cast.

Some fantastic Fitzgerald lines are preserved but lack delivery. Daisy's dark question about what there is to do in the afternoon, the next day, and the next thirty years, is completely squandered. Gatsby's hysterical diffidence about meeting Daisy after a several year gap is almost completely omitted other than the line `This is a big mistake'. The only way that the film adds to the book is that Sam Waterston's Nick Caraway works so very well. Also, with perfect delivery, Tom accuses Gatsby of being Mr Nobody from Nowhere (and this line is important as it will devastate Gatsby). The oppressive heat and wild parties too are exactly right.

The film ends with the popular interpretation of who kills Gatsby, whereas the book leaves it open to other interpretations. But overall, well worth watching, but it was always going to equal the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Greatest' Gatsby, 20 May 2013
dolcevita (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
The Great Gatsby is my favourite of all the F Scott Fitzgerald novels and it is clearly based on the author and his wife Zelda.

True there are flaws with this adaption BUT there is a certain something that so clearly captures the 'spirit' of the age that Fitzgerald is trying to portray.
The cinematography is quite simply genius, the soft muted focus and the heat ~ you can quite literally feel it oozing from the screen.

Despite popular opinion, I actually loved Mia Farrow in the role as Daisy. She conveyed the perfect mix of spoilt but innocent, careless with life and other's feelings but all done without malice.

I have just purchased this DVD as I am desperate for my 16 year old daughter to see it before the new Baz Luhrmann version which I can't imagine is so true to the novel.
I would definitely recommend you watch this version.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit too "epic" but rather good overall, 2 April 2011
P. Bartl - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] (DVD)
For some reason I had never seen this version of "The Great Gatsby"; having recently read the novel, I thought I might finally watch it.

My main impressions were that (1) the screenplay follows Fitzgerald's novel more closely than most screen adaptations of books and (2) on the other hand, the effect of the story gets blurred behind a fog, that is: the production of this movie as a sort of "roaring twenties epic" rather than the more intimate, people-focused feel of the novel. The film has outstanding production values: cinematography, sets, wardrobe - but rather than just serve as a tool to recreate the 1920s, they became a goal in itself, as if the director was thinking something like, "it would be a shame not to use our budget to its fullest" or "let's give the folks who might find the story too boring something gorgeous to look at".

As for the cast: I thought the main actors were very good, and that the cast gave good portrayals of the characters, with one exception, Bruce Dern as Tom Buchanan. It is not that his acting was bad, on the contrary: I think he was miscast as Tom, and his interpretation of what Tom was like was all wrong. In the novel, Tom Buchanan is a more natural, straightforward kind of brute, as summarized by Nick, the narrator, as he concludes that he could not remain angry at Tom since he was like a child. Bruce Dern plays Tom as a more self-aware kind of con man. In the novel, at the end (no spoilers), I could believe Tom's sincerety as he expresses his feelings; in the film, he sounds like a hypocrite.

Many people have criticized the casting of Mia Farrow as Daisy. I thought she was an excellent choice. Granted, she may not correspond precisely to how Daisy is described in the novel. But she conveys the character's shallowness, with feelings that are fickle but nevertheless genuine, and which can plausibly charm those, like Gatsby, who mistake her present-moment, circumstancial feelings for something more durable and profound. The contrast between Daisy's personality with the more intelligent and perceptive Jordan, well played by Lois Chiles, is immediate and very true to the book.

As for Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby: my expectations sunk when I saw how the film changed the scene where Nick is introduced to Gatsby: from a casual encounter in the middle of the party, as in the book, to a mysterious, "James Bond villain" meeting in the film. Maybe the director felt it necessary to do that because the book scene would not work on screen, since viewers would immediately recognize Redford. But in any case, I thought that after that scene, Redford's portrayal of Gatsby was very good and mostly true to the book.

Overall, I recommend this film; but, maybe ironically, I think it might have been a truer portrayal of Fitzgerald's novel if it had been made with a smaller budget.
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