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The Great Gatsby (1949)

A Jazz Age bootlegger learns the hard way about the wages of sin.

Director:

Elliott Nugent

Writers:

F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel), Owen Davis (play) | 2 more credits »
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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 »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Ladd ... Jay Gatsby
Betty Field ... Daisy Buchanan
Macdonald Carey ... Nicholas 'Nick' Carraway
Ruth Hussey ... Jordan Baker
Barry Sullivan ... Tom Buchanaan
Howard Da Silva ... Wilson
Shelley Winters ... Myrtle Wilson
Henry Hull ... Dan Cody
Ed Begley ... Myron Lupus
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Klipspringer
Nicholas Joy ... Drunken Guest at Party
Walter Greaza Walter Greaza ... Kinsella
Tito Vuolo ... Mavromichaelis
Ray Walker ... Real Estate Man
Diane Nance Diane Nance ... Pamela
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 July 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le prix du silence See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,360,000, 31 December 1949
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gene Tierney was set to play Daisy but deemed to beautiful for the role. See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2013 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It once was lost, but now it's found....
14 April 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The public's response to the recent remake of The Great Gatsby was unexpectedly strong—and for several weeks it led at the box office. Now this does not mean that it was a huge financial success—but it was a success. Although it made well over $140,000,000 in the US, it cost $100,000,000 to make—but it was well-attended and the critical reviews were mostly positive. However, I did some research and found that there are at least three prior theatrical versions—and they all met different levels of success. There was a 1922 version that is considered lost— and no one has seen this film in decades. There also is the famous 1974 Robert Redford and Mia Farrow film that earned four times its cost to make (wow!). However, there is one other version—one that was thought to be lost up until 2012 and I have had this near the top of my must-see list for years. In 1949, Alan Ladd made the first talking version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel—and I had the fortune to see this film over the weekend at the TCM Film Festival. And, I assume that it will soon be available on DVD or will be shown on TCM (so far, it has not). So keep an eye out for it.

This 1949 film does have one strike against it from the outset. The Production Code was still strictly being enforced by the Hays Office. Because of that, some elements of the novel needed to be altered slightly to get it past censors. However, I was thrilled that for the most part the story does follow the book rather closely. It's not perfect in this regard, but is much closer than I'd ever expected.

The story is about a man who suddenly bursts onto the social scene on Long Island during the 1920s. Who he is exactly is unknown to most of his new 'friends', but they know that he sure throws great parties at his enormous mansion. But the viewer is left wondering why…why would Gatsby go to so much trouble and expense to buy this old mansion and redecorate it from top to bottom and then use it to throw lavish parties? Who was he trying to impress and how, exactly, did he come by so much money? Through the course of the film you learn the answers to all these things. And, what I appreciated it that although the man is very flawed and in some ways a villain, he is also a tragic character— one you cannot help but like and feel sorry for by the end of the picture.

The direction was quite competent as was the acting. However, the star was clearly the Fitzgerald novel—and it's hard imagining ANY version of the story being anything other than excellent. It really is a nice story and offers a lot of great twists. Plus, most importantly, it is so unique. I was also surprised at what a nice job Ladd did in the film —especially since he generally showed limited range in his films. He tended to be very stoic and non-emotional and generally played the same sort of tough guys in nearly all his films. Here, however, he shows more range and vulnerability than a typical Ladd film. So why did Alan Ladd make such a film? Was he forced to do it by the studio? Well, the truth is quite different. According to Ladd's son, David (who talked about the film before this special screening on Sunday night), it was a project Ladd forced his studio, Paramount, to make. They LOVED having him play gangsters, cowboys and the like but Ladd himself was impressed by the story and insisted he get a chance to do it. Sadly, the film did NOT do very well at the box office and was soon lost—and Ladd returned to making the sorts of films he'd been making--- enjoyable, yes, but also limited in style. It makes you wonder what might have happened to his career had the film been a success.

Overall, this film was a real treat. It's an intelligent film for folks who are looking for something with great depth of feeling and human frailty.


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