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The Great Gatsby (1949)

 -  Drama  -  13 July 1949 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 381 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 4 critic

In this "adaptation" of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, a Jazz Age bootlegger learns the hard way about the wages of sin.

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(novel), (play), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Great Gatsby (1949)

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Nick Carraway, a young Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbour, the nouveau riche Jay Gatsby. He is ... See full summary »

Director: Herbert Brenon
Stars: Warner Baxter, Lois Wilson, Neil Hamilton
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Betty Field ...
Macdonald Carey ...
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Howard Da Silva ...
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Nicholas Joy ...
Drunken Guest at Party
Walter Greaza ...
Kinsella
Tito Vuolo ...
Mavromichaelis
Ray Walker ...
Real Estate Man
Diane Nance ...
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Storyline

Nick Carraway, a young Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifetyle of his landlord, the nouveau riche Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby's circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy. Written by Cleo <frede005@maroon.tc.umn.edu>

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A Great Cast... A Great Novel... A Great Motion Picture

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Drama

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Release Date:

13 July 1949 (USA)  »

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The Great Gatsby  »

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(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Broadway production of "The Great Gatsby" by Owen Davis based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald opened at the Ambassador Theater on February 2, 1926, ran for 112 performances and directed by future movie director George Cukor. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Hotel New Hampshire (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder
(uncredited)
Written by Al Jolson, Billy Rose and Dave Dreyer
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User Reviews

 
Best version to date
30 April 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is the second film version of the novel. I have not viewed the 1926 version, but since it is a silent film, and the novel is so chatty, I can hardly think it captures Fitzgerald's vision. The 1974 (3rd) version suffers from two or three problems that overwhelm the lovely props and costumes - an abysmal score, the debatable effect of Redford's grin, and casting mousy Mia Farrow as money-voiced Daisy - a role she cannot fill. Sam Waterson and Bruce Dern are well cast but then mostly have to stand around rather than play off their contrasting physical types. Karen Black perfectly embodies the excess vitality that motivates Tom's adultery. The 2000 A&E/Granada (4th) version comes closer with a more believable Daisy (Mira Sorvino) and an equally everyman Nick (Paul Rudd), but not a better Jay, and then focuses too much on the furniture of Gatsby's criminal activities. It boasts a real Owl Eyes, too. The 1949 version is not perfect either; we can only hope the 2012-oops!-2013 version finally nails it. The '49 version casts Nick as a bit of a dull boy, and fails most by insisting on "squaring" everything, losing in the process the essential melancholy, unfulfilled longing, and insulted morality of the novel. Perhaps it's an artifact of the period, America embracing a sanitized Freudian relativism, putting the Second WW behind it like the First, but this time too sober to try anything like the Roaring 20s. Betty Field is a convincing Daisy, though she falls pretty far from a Louisville débutante. Jordan is not nearly arch enough, Tom not nearly imposing enough. And Dr. TJ Eckleburg...well Gatsby's henchman can't resist explicating a symbol the audience should be allowed to figure out for itself. After an unsteady start, the pace of the film proceeds very well through most of the scenes of the novel, sadly failing to give Shelley Winters the screen time to better develop her Myrtle Wilson. And here's Howard da Silva suitably muted as Wilson, Ed Begley too muted as "Lupus"(Wolfsheim), and Elisha Cook, Jr in an expanded Klipspringer role. In fact, it's almost as if the film makers wanted to write Nick out and replace him with Klipsringer, but didn't dare. They should have, because Cook brings more to the screen than Macdonald Carey. All in all, a very workmanlike adaptation, making use of much of the novel's narration by transforming it into passable dialog, and though the shot composition is a bit straight-on, the camera-work is strong and the editing spot on.


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