Day 299: The Great Gatsby (1974)

81UmyTUTxWL._SL1500_The main thing the 1974 adaptation of The Great Gatsby has going for it is Robert Redford in the titular role.

That’s really about it.

Redford makes a dashing Gatsby, sporting more of an emotional palette than Alan Ladd was able to muster.

This film – with script by Francis Ford Coppola – has a kind of shimmering, dreamy quality to it. It’s much better than the 1949 version starring Ladd. But it still just kind of lies there, unfolding like petals wilting off a rose.

Again, the cast is competent, even somewhat fascinating:

Robert Redford … Jay Gatsby
Mia Farrow … Daisy Buchanan
Bruce Dern … Tom Buchanan
Karen Black … Myrtle Wilson
Scott Wilson … George Wilson
Sam Waterston … Nick Carraway
Lois Chiles … Jordan Baker
Howard Da Silva … Meyer Wolfsheim
Roberts Blossom … Mr. Gatz
Edward Herrmann … Klipspringer

I’ve never really liked Mia Farrow. And I don’t think she’s a good fit in her role as Daisy, either. She seems like such a ditz, an airy woman that is more of an obsession for Gatsby than anything he’d actually enjoy once he obtained. But maybe that’s it. Gatsby hasn’t obtained her, and he’s wanted to all these years – to the point that Daisy becomes a fixation.

I like Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway, and I especially like the use of narration to begin the film. I think that adds substance to the movie.

Edward Hermann, one of my favorite character actors, appears in the movie as Continue reading

Day 169: New York Stories

513334WT37LNew York Stories is not strictly a Woody Allen movie. It’s actually three famous directors – Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola – creating a trilogy of movies about their beloved New York City.

So each director gets, roughly, 1/3 of this 1989 movie’s two-hour length, give or take.

The first movie is “Life Lessons,” directed by Martin Scorsese, is about an abstract painter (Nick Nolte, 1941- ), who is obsessed by a pretty young ex-girlfriend (played by the very sexy Rosanna Arquette, 1959- ) and Procol Harum, whose music (especially “A Whiter Shade of Pale“) provides much of the soundtrack.

The second movie is “Life without Zoe” by Francis Ford Coppola. According to its entry on Wikipedia, “Life Without Zoe” is about,

Zoë (Heather McComb) is a schoolgirl who lives in a luxury hotel. She helps return to an Arab princess a valuable piece of jewelry that the princess had given to Zoë’s father (Giancarlo Giannini) and had been subsequently stolen and recovered. Zoë tries to reconcile her divorced mother, a photographer (Talia Shire), and father, a flute soloist.

Woody Allen’s segment of New York Stories is called “Oedipus Wrecks.”

According to Continue reading