Monday, April 09, 2007

Just a Passing Notion: The Great Gatzby

So, this weekend I caught Studio 360s wonderful piece on The Great Gatsby (part of their American Icons series). And it was during the part of the episode in which Andrew Lauren, son of designer Ralph, explained how his father had done costume design for the 1974 film, how his father reminded him of Gatsby, and then, how Russell Simmons appearance on Mtv Cribs had inspired him to write G., a movie about a hip-hop Gatsby in real-life East Hampton that I had a revelation.

I realized that, apart from being a much better treatment of A.I. than A.I. was, the under-appreciated Bicentennial Man is also another retelling of the Fitzgerald classic. I've never read the Asimov & Silverberg novel that provided the film's inspiration, so I can't speak for it, but as for the movie, Andrew Martin's struggle for social acceptance, his journey to be a self made man (and millionaire), and his long-suffering and (for a time) unrequited love, to say nothing of his eventual fate, are indeed very Gatsby-esque. I would love to watch all three films back to back sometime, and to have the time/luxury to read the two books together.


A.R.Yngve said...

I enjoyed the movie BICENTENNIAL MAN, and I agree it's been underappreciated. (Why? Because it contained no explosions, fights, car chases or "cool" one-liners?)

Question: Is THE STARS MY DESTINATION somewhat similar in theme to THE GREAT GATSBY (Working-class joe re-invents himself with money)?

Robert said...

Glad to know that I'm not the only person who enjoyed BICENTENNIAL MAN. Think some of the film's under-appreciation is due to Robin Williams-related backlash. Personally, I think he does fine in the film. Also have to say that I enjoyed A.I. in and of its ownself.

Lou, don't think you really need to read the Asimov/Silverberg novel, but *do* read the original Asimov short story. The thematice heart of the film and its basic plotline are all contained there. with of course a stong dose of Asimovian humanism and humanity.

The movie really does capture that elusive Asimovian quality...unlike I, ROBOT -- which only skimmed lightly across the spirit of Asimov's robotics...


Lou Anders said...

HI Robert,
I met so many people who never saw the film because the trailers mislead them into thinking it was a light comedy about Robyn Williams and the Pepsi kid, which it so isn't. I enjoyed A.I. too - it pulled and pushed my emotional buttons in all the right places - but after it was over, its logic began to evaporate for me like candy floss. So a friend of mine - with whom I'm seen A.I. - and I went home and immediately watched Bicentennial Man, and found it a much more sophisticated treatment of the subject and a stronger narrative. As to I, Robot - I would have no problem with that film if they'd just retitled it "With Folded Hands" !