Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Great Gatsby Week - Early Film Adaptations

The first film adaptation of The Great Gatsby was released in 1926. The film was directed by Herbert Brenon, produced by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky at Famous Players-Lasky, and released by Paramount Pictures. The film itself has been lost and only a trailer for the movie remains.

The screenplay was written by Becky Gardiner and Elizabeth Meehan and was based Owen Davis' stage play treatment of The Great Gatsby. The play, directed by George Cukor, opened on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre Feb. 2, 1926 and soon after, the film rights were purchased, with F. Scott Fitzgerald receiving US $45,000.
The film was entrusted to a contract Paramount director, Herbert Brenon who designed the film as lightweight, popular entertainment, playing up the party scenes at Gatsby's mansion and emphasizing their scandalous elements. The film had a running time of 80 minutes, or 7,296 feet.

Warner Baxter - Jay Gatsby
Lois Wilson - Daisy Buchanan
Neil Hamilton - Nick Carraway
Georgia Hale - Myrtle Wilson
William Powell - George Wilson
Hale Hamilton - Tom Buchanan
George Nash - Charles Wolf
Carmelita Geraghty - Jordan Baker
Eric Blore - Lord Digby
Gunboat Smith - Bert
Claire Whitney - Catherine

Here is the trailer:
The second film adaptation of The Great Gatsby was made in 1946 and he film stars Alan Ladd, Betty Field, Macdonald Carey, Ruth Hussey, and Barry Sullivan and features Shelley Winters, Howard Da Silva and Elisha Cook, Jr. It was directed by Elliott Nugent, and produced by Richard Maibaum, from a screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Cyril Hume and released by Paramount. Unfortunately copies of this film are also hard to come by due to copyright reasons but the full version has been posted on YouTube here.

Alan Ladd as Jay Gatsby
Betty Field as Daisy Buchanan
Macdonald Carey as Nick Carraway
Ruth Hussey as Jordan Baker
Barry Sullivan as Tom Buchanan
Howard Da Silva as George Wilson
Shelley Winters as Myrtle Wilson

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