Baz Luhrman‘s The Great Gatsby will have its big New York premiere tonight at Alice Tully Hall. I would expect that somebody will tweet something. What I’d like is some kind of fully considered 250-word reaction. If anyone hears anything or knows someone with a view of some kind, please pass along. It’s time to get into this puppy, especially with Warner Bros. telling me I can’t attend tomorrow morning’s press screening which, given my flight to Germany on Friday night, keeps me from seeing it until 5.15 in Cannes.
A still from the 1974 Great Gatsby with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
From Richard Brody‘s 4.30 New Yorker piece, “Why ‘The Great Gatsby’ Endures’:
“’The Great Gatsby’ is, above all, a novel of conspicuous consumption — not even of appetite but of the ineluctable connection between wealth and spectacle. The central story of that storied age is slender, sleek, and graceful, neither depicting effort nor bearing its marks.
“Long before the novel found its enduring place in American letters, it was already a movie, one made by a character of real-life myth of whom Fitzgerald wrote in one of his final stories. Citizen Kane is richer in the spirit of true expansiveness and dubious grandeur, of exorbitant pomp, mad desire, and incurable need than any direct adaptation of the book has been; it wouldn’t have taken more than a few tweaks to turn the young Orson Welles, playing the young Charles Foster Kane, into the cinema’s ultimate and definitive Gatsby.
“I’m impatient to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s version; his own deflective opacity was at its most effective in another elusive role, that of Frank Abagnale, Jr., in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me if You Can. And Pammy Buchanan would be nearly ninety-three. Perhaps Baz Luhrmann persuaded Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine to make a return in an epilogue that would bring the novel briefly into the present day. I’ll report back.”
Brody is being a little too gracious about DiCaprio, who generally doesn’t feel right in period pieces because of that distinctive twangy voice of his. (His J. Edgar voice was beyond strange.) There’s something about the sound of it that makes him sound like a hick actor trying to win a part at an audition. It argues strenuously with old-world class and cultivation.