The Great Gatsby: the secret of the story's appeal
Baz Luhrmann is the sixth film-maker to attempt to translate The Great Gatsby from page to screen. But what is it about this slim novel that makes it so endlessly fascinating, asks David Gritten.
In 1974, Time magazine ran a cover story titled “The Great Gatsby Supersell”, with a photo of Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, the stars of that year’s film adapted from F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, gazing into each other’s eyes. The basis of the story was that the hype surrounding the movie was overwhelming.
Four decades on, those of us who recall the Redford-Farrow Gatsby may be feeling a distinct sense of déjà vu. Gatsby-mania is again running rampant, largely due to the imminent arrival of Baz Luhrmann’s eagerly awaited film adaptation of the novel.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the enigmatic, self-made, wildly wealthy Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as the love of his life, callow, capricious Daisy Buchanan, it opens the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. There’s a nice symmetry here: in the Twenties, Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda and their affluent, hedonistic friends established the French Riviera as a smart-set destination.
Again the hype machines are in overdrive. By now half the world knows that the film is in 3-D, and has a lavish Art Deco look. It’s hardly a secret that Brooks Brothers supplied Gatsby’s gorgeous clothes for DiCaprio, that Prada did the same for Mulligan, or that the contemporary soundtrack features Jay-Z, Beyoncé, will.i.am and Emeli Sandé.
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