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‘Gatsby’ On The Big Screen

“The Great Gatsby” is back. On the big screen. We’ll revisit the tale, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Great Gatsby is back.  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great novel has never left high school reading lists or the minds of millions.  Now it’s back on the big screen.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby.  Baz Luhrman of Moulin Rouge fame as director of a whirling, swirling new production.  Jay-Z’s fingerprints all over the soundtrack.  Think hip hop meets Jazz Age.  But at the heart of it is still the story.

Daisy Buchanan.  Nick Carraway.  And Gatsby.  Up from nothing.  Rich as sin.  Chasing the American dream.

This hour, On Point:  Looking again at Gatsby.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

A.O. Scott, film critic for The New York Times. (@aoscott)

Anne Margaret Daniel, instructor of English, American and Irish literature at the New School who also served as a historical adviser on the film. (@venetianblonde)

Jay McInerney, novelist. (@JayMcInerney)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: Shimmying Out of the Literary Mantle: ‘The Great Gatsby,’ Interpreted by Baz Luhrmann — “The best way to enjoy Baz Luhrmann’s big and noisy new version of ‘The Great Gatsby’ — and despite what you may have heard, it is an eminently enjoyable movie — is to put aside whatever literary agenda you are tempted to bring with you. I grant that this is not so easily done. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s slender, charming third novel has accumulated a heavier burden of cultural significance than it can easily bear. Short and accessible enough to be consumed in a sitting (as in ‘Gatz,’ Elevator Repair Service’s full-text staged reading), the book has become, in the 88 years since its publication, a schoolroom staple and a pop-cultural totem. It shapes our increasingly fuzzy image of the Jazz Age and fuels endless term papers on the American dream and related topics.”

Hot Press: The Great Gatsby — “When F. Scott Fitzgerald began ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 1922, he told his editor at Charles Scribner’s Sons, Max Perkins, that he wanted to “write something new – something extraordinarily beautiful and simple & intricately patterned.” Living between a Minnesota yacht club, St. Paul, New York hotels, and Great Neck, Long Island in the early 1920s, Fitzgerald was physically scattered but mentally remarkably focused. He worked hard on the first draft of this new novel, despite recent fatherhood and a wild life of celebrity and excess.”

Guardian: Why Gatsby Is So Great — “At that time, ‘Gatsby’ seemed like the relic of an age most wanted to forget. In the succeeding years, Fitzgerald’s slim tale of the jazz age became the most celebrated and beloved novel in the American canon. It’s more than an American classic; it’s become a defining document of the national psyche, a creation myth, the Rosetta Stone of the American dream. And yet all the attempts to adapt it to stage and screen have only served to illustrate its fragility and its flaws. Fitzgerald’s prose somehow elevates a lurid and underdeveloped narrative to the level of myth.”

Soundtrack Sampler

Parental advisory: Contains explicit content

Additional Trailer

An extended TV spot featuring Lana Del Ray’s “Young And Beautiful”:

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