Original vs. Remake: The Great Gatsby

The following article is presented for entertainment purposes. It is not intended as scholarly research or a final authority on the subject. 

Welcome to another installment of Original vs. Remake. This month’s movie is The Great Gatsby. I’m covering the 1974 original, and Tiffany A. White is doing the remake. Once you’ve read all about the 1974 version, cruise on over to Tiffany’s blog to read about the 2013 remake.


Watch the Trailer


About the Film

Adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, which is considered by many to define The Jazz Age, the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby was actually the second remake.

The first screenplay adaptation was made in 1926. The silent film was directed by Herbert Brenan and starred Warner Baxter. The film is considered lost. The only known surviving footage is this trailer.

The first remake came in 1949. It was released by Paramount Pictures and directed by Elliot Nugent. The film starred Alan Ladd and featured Shelly Winters.

Now, we’re down to the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby.

This was the third film adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel and the second remake.

The film starred a very young and very beautiful Robert Redford and Mia Farrow as Gatsby and Daisy. Doug Slocombe’s cinematography, which was sort of soft focus, made the couple seem almost mythically beautiful (to me, at least).  Other familiar faces in the film were Bruce Dern as the brutish Tom Buchanan and Karen Black as Myrtle Wilson.

An interesting piece of trivia is that Truman Capote was originally supposed to write the screenplay. Francis Ford Coppola ended up writing it but has commented the screenplay he wrote did not end up on the screen.

The 1974 version of The Great Gatsby has been praised for staying true to the novel but criticized for failing to capture the heart of The Jazz Age.

My Thoughts

The Great Gatsby is considered one of America’s great novels. That alone makes any film adaptation of great interest. Personally, I never “got” Gatsby until I watched the 1974 version of the film.

As I mentioned earlier, I loved the dreamy quality of the cinematography. Robert Redford and Mia Farrow are breathtakingly gorgeous. I liked the music, too.  I highly recommend checking out the 1974 film version just to see what the hype is about.

The 1974 version of Gatsby is available both to rent and own at iTunes. The film can be streamed free by Amazon Prime members as well as rented or purchased at Amazon. Netflix members can also stream the 1974 remake of Gatsby as part of their subscription.

Be sure to visit Tiffany’s blog to read about the latest remake.


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