This 1949 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famed book The Great Gatsby opens with two people (MacDonald Carey as Nick Carraway and Ruth Hussey as Jordan Baker) standing next to the tombstone of Jay Gatsby reminiscing about the life of the dearly departed.
Methinks it foreshadows the events to come too quickly, and too on the nose.
There’s a lot wrong with this movie, not least of which is the hideously ham-fisted dialogue, which is about as natural as a Beagle in a jump suit. As a result, the movie plays like a melodramatic soap opera, one that hops, skips, and jumps through Fitzgerald’s book, quickly reaching the end without bothering to develop the characters along the way.
It’s an epic cast:
Alan Ladd … Jay Gatsby
Betty Field … Daisy Buchanan
Macdonald Carey … Nicholas ‘Nick’ Carraway
Ruth Hussey … Jordan Baker
Barry Sullivan … Tom Buchanaan
Howard Da Silva … Wilson
Shelley Winters … Myrtle Wilson
Henry Hull … Dan Cody
Ed Begley … Myron Lupus
Elisha Cook Jr. … Klipspringer
But not even talented character actor Elisha Cook, Jr., can save this film.
A blogger wrote a great review of this version of Gatsby on his site The Ol’ Fish-Eye. I recommend it. I agree with every word. Especially his description of Alan Ladd’s characterization of Gatsby.
The ending of the movie – during and immediately following the car accident – is Continue reading