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Video: Great Gatsby trailer really captures the Roaring Twenties

posted at 10:49 am on May 7, 2013 by

Er, it’s a little minimalist for a Baz Luhrmann flick, isn’t it?  That’s because this is the trailer for the original adaptation of The Great Gatsby — a film that has been lost, apparently.  The Daily Caller gives us the silent treatment, or at least what’s left of it:

There may be a reason why this version has disappeared:

But the first film version — in black and white with no dialogue — debuted in 1926, soon after a stage production of the novel. F. Scott Fitzgerald was reportedly so disgusted by the film version that he walked out of the movie theater before it was over.

The silent version of “The Great Gatsby” no longer exists in any archives, and the sole footage is the one-minute trailer for the film that the National Archives was able to salvage.

 

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There has never been a good adaptation of the Great Gatsby. How can you make a good movie out of such an aweful book?

BigGator5 on May 7, 2013 at 11:17 AM

I love the overacting of silent movies… but it’s impossible for me to take them seriously. I just laugh, no matter what the subject.

I’ll be seeing Gatsby this weekend, probably. It is a superb story, and Fitzgerald was one of our greatest novelists.

Meryl Yourish on May 7, 2013 at 11:22 AM

It’s a tremendous book and shouldn’t be hard to adapt. The problem is that Hollywood types don’t understand it, because it is a critique of the emptiness of people just like them.

Maybe Baz Luhrmann can do something with it, but the novel is subtle and subtlety isn’t his thing.

Missy on May 7, 2013 at 11:39 AM

@Meryl Yourish: I never laugh at Greta Garbo.

Seth Halpern on May 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM

I love silent films and believe few modern stars can match the greats of that era. John Barrymore was spectacular. Lillian Gish was masterful in her delicacy. Harold Lloyd was a comedic genius as was Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. To see King Vidor’s The Crowd or Janet Gaynor in Sunrise to weep. That’s not even scratching the surface of the truly great art from that era.

vityas on May 7, 2013 at 12:07 PM

I love the overacting of silent movies… but it’s impossible for me to take them seriously. I just laugh, no matter what the subject.

I’ll be seeing Gatsby this weekend, probably. It is a superb story, and Fitzgerald was one of our greatest novelists.

Meryl Yourish on May 7, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I’ve noticed that German silent movies don’t seem to have as much “overacting” as American films, yet seem to come across as more emotional.

“The Passion of Joan of Arc” is another good example.

That said, seeing Lillian Gish looking overly sad breaks my heart every time.

CurtZHP on May 7, 2013 at 12:13 PM

vityas on May 7, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Yeah the greats from that era can still entertain, it’s too bad silent films have been stigmatized by the over acting of the day. A lot of these actors were just doing what they were trained to do on stage, where people sitting in the cheap seats couldn’t see the stage as well.

Daemonocracy on May 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM

I love silent films and believe few modern stars can match the greats of that era. John Barrymore was spectacular. Lillian Gish was masterful in her delicacy. Harold Lloyd was a comedic genius as was Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. To see King Vidor’s The Crowd or Janet Gaynor in Sunrise to weep. That’s not even scratching the surface of the truly great art from that era.

vityas on May 7, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Agreed. But, that era, and Hollywood’s Golden Age, is not appreciated these days as it should be. Hell, I talked to someone fairly recently who had never heard of James Cagney (my favorite actor)…that’s just incredibly sad.

changer1701 on May 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM

There has never been a good adaptation of the Great Gatsby. How can you make a good movie out of such an aweful book?

BigGator5 on May 7, 2013 at 11:17 AM

So you’ve seen multiple film adaptations of a book that’s awful?

KGB on May 7, 2013 at 12:42 PM

There has never been a good adaptation of the Great Gatsby. How can you make a good movie out of such an aweful book?

BigGator5 on May 7, 2013 at 11:17 AM

That’s the truth. Most of what qualifies as classic literature in the Twentieth century is grossly overestimated. I slightly liked Alan Ladd’s Gatsby.

rickv404 on May 7, 2013 at 1:33 PM

wtf?

olesparkie on May 7, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Fitzgerald would approve of the current adaptation coming up. What takes you back to the roaring 20′s than a film that highlights hip hop celebrities?

ptcamn on May 7, 2013 at 1:57 PM

I wouldn’t expect Gatsby to adapt well to cinema. The beauty of the book in its prose, structure, symbolism, characterizations and multi-level themes. If your interest in a work extends only to the pace of the surface narrative then you will be disappointed with Gatsby whether you experience it on the page or on the screen.

tommyboy on May 7, 2013 at 2:10 PM

I suspect the new version, with the overlayed rap soundtrack, is destined for the same place as this silent one.

Freddy on May 7, 2013 at 2:15 PM

@Seth Halpern: I stand corrected. I’d forgotten how great the old dramas could be. It’s been a loooong time since I saw one.

Meryl Yourish on May 7, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.
Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/poor_faulkner_does_he_really_think_big_emotions#PZxy7u4tWGxgyYsq.99

TexasDan on May 7, 2013 at 3:53 PM

How are the lefties going to work some slap at conservatism into the new version?

Ward Cleaver on May 7, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Yup, we really need to have “Gatsby” with a hip-hop soundtrack featuring Jay-Z, becuz’, you know, Louis Armstrong and company circa 1922 were such square, Uncle Tom dudes and kids just can’t relate.

kd6rxl on May 7, 2013 at 6:20 PM

At the 0:24 mark … It’s Commissioner Gordon!

SagebrushPuppet on May 7, 2013 at 11:43 PM