The best elements in the new Great Gatsby trailer, which went up last night, are the two glimpses of Times Square [after jump], and particularly the one showing marquees for two films — Rudolph Valentino‘s Blood and Sand and Douglas FairbanksRobin Hood. These films opened precisely within the period in which Gatsby occurs, from the spring to autumn of 1922. Blood and Sand opened on 8.5.22 and Robin Hood premiered on 10.18.22.

My second reaction was to wonder why director Baz Luhrman cast a 70 year-old Indian actor, Amitabh Bachchan, to play a Jewish gangster associate of Jay Gatsby‘s, Meyer Wolfsheim, whom F. Scott Fitzgerald based on Arnold Rothstein. Even if you mentally erase the fact that all big-time gangsters in the 1920s were either Italian, Irish or Jewish, the idea that an Indian guy could rise to the top of the big-time crime world of New York City in the early 1920s is, in itself, absurd.

So Luhrman gets it almost exactly right in terms of the movies playing in Times Square from the spring to fall of 1922, but he gets it wildly, flamboyantly wrong with the casting of an Indian actor pal as Wolfsheim. Whcih feels to me like two minds within the same person working at cross purposes, which indicates trouble for the film. But I’m strangely taken by his using “Happy Together,” the 1966 Turtles song, on the soundtrack. The really fruit-loopy pop elements are cool.

Looking north from the east side of Times Square in the vicinity of 44th Street.