The Great Gatsby (1974)

PG | 144, 146 or 148 mins | Drama, Romance | April 1974

Director:

Jack Clayton

Producer:

David Merrick

Cinematographer:

Douglas Slocombe

Editor:

Tom Priestley

Production Designer:

John Box

Production Company:

The Newdon Company
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HISTORY

The opening credits roll over shots of the vast interior of the West Egg mansion owned by "Jay Gatsby" (Robert Redford), as well as shots of Gatsby’s dressing table and pages from a scrapbook of photographs and newspaper articles of "Daisy Buchanan" (Mia Farrow). The closing credits begin to roll against shots of well-dressed revelers of the 1920s coming onto the dock on Gatsby’s estate, presumably the following summer, as an offscreen chorus sings "Ain't We Got Fun." After that scene, the final credits appear over more shots of the interior of Gatsby's deserted mansion. The film was intermittently narrated, in voice-over, by the character "Nick Carraway" (Sam Waterston). The text of the narration, which also opens and closes the film, was drawn almost entirely from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, which was told from Nick's point of view.
       In addition to the narration, many of the film's lines of dialogue were taken directly from Fitzgerald's novel, although, in some instances, the lines are spoken by different characters or at different times within the story. The most familiar icon from the novel, the large billboard of the bespectacled eyes of "Dr. T. J. Echleburg" that faces the garage owned by "George Wilson" (Scott Wilson), also became a symbol within the film. It is discussed in Nick's voice-over narration and referenced by Wilson, who equates the billboard to the eyes of God. Another icon within the novel, the green light emanating from the dock at Daisy's house, also becomes symbolic in the film. Gatsby's first appearance in the picture shows Redford only in longshot, looking across the sound at the green light, and the action ends ... More Less

The opening credits roll over shots of the vast interior of the West Egg mansion owned by "Jay Gatsby" (Robert Redford), as well as shots of Gatsby’s dressing table and pages from a scrapbook of photographs and newspaper articles of "Daisy Buchanan" (Mia Farrow). The closing credits begin to roll against shots of well-dressed revelers of the 1920s coming onto the dock on Gatsby’s estate, presumably the following summer, as an offscreen chorus sings "Ain't We Got Fun." After that scene, the final credits appear over more shots of the interior of Gatsby's deserted mansion. The film was intermittently narrated, in voice-over, by the character "Nick Carraway" (Sam Waterston). The text of the narration, which also opens and closes the film, was drawn almost entirely from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, which was told from Nick's point of view.
       In addition to the narration, many of the film's lines of dialogue were taken directly from Fitzgerald's novel, although, in some instances, the lines are spoken by different characters or at different times within the story. The most familiar icon from the novel, the large billboard of the bespectacled eyes of "Dr. T. J. Echleburg" that faces the garage owned by "George Wilson" (Scott Wilson), also became a symbol within the film. It is discussed in Nick's voice-over narration and referenced by Wilson, who equates the billboard to the eyes of God. Another icon within the novel, the green light emanating from the dock at Daisy's house, also becomes symbolic in the film. Gatsby's first appearance in the picture shows Redford only in longshot, looking across the sound at the green light, and the action ends as Nick looks across at the light. Paralleling Gatsby’s elusiveness, Redford does not enter the action until thirty-five minutes into the picture and is killed fifteen minutes before the end.
       While both contemporary and modern critics have noted the film's faithful adaptation of the novel, the picture only briefly touches upon the Louisville, KY back story of the brief World War I romance between Gatsby and Daisy. In the film, most of the information about what happened after Gatsby left for the European front is related by Daisy as she explains to Gatsby how she came to marry "Tom Buchanan" (Bruce Dern). In the novel, Daisy's girlhood friend from Louisville, "Jordan Baker" (portrayed in the film by Lois Chiles), relates those details and more to Nick.
       There is some additional information in the novel about Gatsby's youth and transition from humble country boy to the wealthy and powerful man he became during the setting of the central portion of the story. The novel also dwells more on the social mores of the 1920s and life among the wealthy. As stated in the pressbook, the film's 1925 setting was moved forward from the novel's 1922 setting because "there were more interesting fashions" with which Theoni V. Aldredge, who designed the women's wardrobe, could work.
       Pre-production for The Great Gatsby began in mid-1971. According to a 7 Jul 1971 Var news item, Robert Evans, Paramount’s head of production at the time, was planning to turn the property into a vehicle for his then wife, Ali McGraw, and Redford. The same article announced that noted Broadway impresario David Merrick, who owned the film rights, would produce the picture. Several news items about the production, including a 14 Mar 1972 HR report, noted that Francis Ford Coppola had been hired early on to write the film's screenplay, although the Var review noted that author Truman Capote had drafted an earlier version of the script that was abandoned. Although principal photography was to have started in Jul 1972, according to a news item in DV on 30 May 1972, Paramount announced that it was delaying the production until May 1973. The picture ultimately began production on 11 Jun 1973.
       According to numerous news items, McGraw and Evans separated in late 1972 and divorced some months later. As reported in a 1 Nov 1972 Var news item, McGraw's name had recently been removed from consideration for the role of Daisy. As Evans stated in an 18 Nov 1996 People magazine interview, "I bought The Great Gatsby as a wedding gift to my then wife Ali McGraw, and I took it away as a divorce gift." On 18 Dec 1972, Farrow was announced in Hollywood trade papers as the final choice to portray Daisy. Actresses mentioned in various contemporary news items as having tested or been considered for the role before Farrow were Faye Dunaway, Candice Bergin, Katharine Ross, Tuesday Weld, Genevieve Bujold and Chiles, who ultimately was selected for the role of Jordan. No news items mentioned any actor other than Redford for the role of Gatsby. However, in a Los Angeles Herald-Examiner article on 6 May 1975, Evans stated that he and The Great Gatsby director Jack Clayton had actually wanted Jack Nicholson for the role.
       Actor Tom Ewell is listed in the film's premiere program and some reviews as portraying a "Mourner," at Gatsby's funeral, but Ewell did not appear in the print viewed. According to several British reviews, as well as a 26 Apr 1974 DV news item, three minutes of the film were cut between the Los Angeles and London openings, with Ewell's small role among the deleted sections. The DV item reported that a spokesperson for Cinema International Corp., the company that distributed the film internationally, suggested that the U.S. running time needed shortening for release abroad. It is unclear if Ewell's appearance was included in prints used for the picture's wide, North American release in 1974, but available DVD copies do not include his appearance.
       Trade paper news items in May 1973 reported that because English director Clayton preferred to shoot interiors at Pinewood, Paramount Picture president Frank Yablans was adamant in his refusal to consider requests by the Hollywood AFL Film Council, the Film and Television Coordinating Committee and various motion picture craft unions to keep the production based in the U.S. At a time during which the problem of "runaway productions," American-financed pictures shot outside the U.S., was a controversial issue, industry representatives, including William K. Howard, president of the Film Council, expressed outrage that a story so peculiarly American should be shot primarily in Britain.
       Other contemporary news items noted that the New York Cameraman's Local 644 Union protested having British crew members on the New York City shoot. The local sought $150,000 in damages, and an injunction against Paramount to prevent them from utilizing a British director of photography, as well as British first and second cameraman. According to a Var article on 20 Jun 1973, a "so-called 'concession agreement'" had been reached between Paramount and Local 644 on 30 Mar 1973. On 4 Oct 1973, a DV news item reported that Paramount had sold "about 20% of The Great Gatsby to outside investors, notably Irving H. Levin and Samuel Schulman." The article indicated that, even though the practice of selling off parts of films to financing syndicates was considered risky and was not widespread at the time, it was becoming increasingly common.
       Location shooting, according to the film's pressbook, HR charts and other contemporary sources, began on 11 Jun 1973 in Newport, RI. Both the novel and the motion picture are set on Long Island but, according to the pressbook, filmmakers decided that the sumptuous mansions of Rhode Island, which had been open to the public for many years, would provide a better recreation of the early 1920s Long Island described in the novel. Exteriors and many interiors for Gatsby's mansion were shot at Rosecliff, one of the most famous of the Newport mansions. Constructed in 1902 for millionaire Herman Oelrichs, the house was designed by noted architect Sanford White, who based his plans on Le Petit Trianon in Versailles, France.
       As noted in the pressbook, Rosecliff had the largest ballroom in Newport and was surrounded by an enormous lawn that would allow for the construction of Nick's cottage adjacent to the property. The pressbook described the construction of Nick's cottage, which took place over a period of six weeks in the spring of 1972. In addition to Rosecliff, other Newport mansions used for interiors of the Gatsby mansion included Marble Head, where the kitchen scenes were shot, and several rooms of The Breakers. According to various news items, many Newport residents appeared as dress extras in the party scenes. Hammersmith Farm, which stood in for Daisy and Tom's mansion, was the summer house of Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Auchincloss, the mother and stepfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
       According to the pressbook, the production moved to New York City for three days after the Newport sequences were completed, utilizing the Queensborough Bridge for the scene in which the cars cross into Manhattan. The scene in which Tom buys a dog for "Myrtle Wilson" (Karen Black) was shot on the sidewalk on the Manhattan side of the bridge. The exterior of the Plaza Hotel was the final U.S. location shot before the company moved to Pinewood Studios, outside London, where interiors were shot from 20 Jul until filming concluded in early Oct 1973. According to many contemporary sources, the picture's budget was $6,000,000.
       Prior to its release, even before principal photography began, there was an extensive publicity campaign for the film. Both Time and Newsweek published lengthy cover stories about the production. In the 18 Mar 1974 Time article, entitled "Ready or Not, Here Comes Gatsby," Evans was quoted as saying "The making of a blockbuster is the newest art form of the 20th century." According to a 23 Jan 1973 HR article, Paramount created a special merchandising division for the film. A Dec 1973 Vogue magazine article on the picture, which was quoted in the pressbook, reported that The Great Gatsby "caused the greatest pre-production excitement since Gone With the Wind " (1939, see below).
       In addition to stories about the film's production, as well as profile pieces on Redford, then one of the biggest stars in the world, the wardrobe for The Great Gatsby was hailed in the press as a new fashion milestone. Although Newsweek 's 26 Mar 1973 feature, "Great Scot," was one of the first general interest magazines to promote the Gatsby look, according to the article, Women's Wear Daily pronounced the birth of the look the previous year. Dressed in 1920s costumes from the movie, Farrow and Redford garnered the covers of numerous publications, including fashion magazines such as Vogue and Women's Wear Daily . Numerous magazines in spring and summer 1974 published lengthy, photograph-heavy articles about the clothing and production design. In addition to Aldredge, who designed costumes for Farrow and other women in the cast, fashion designer Ralph Lauren, who created the menswear for the film, was hailed for his designs. Many modern critics have pointed to the success of his work for The Great Gatsby as laying the foundation for his fashion and home furnishings empire.
       Music from the 1920s and World War I also added to the period feel of the film. Irving Berlin's soulful ballad "What'll I Do?" was sung over the opening credits and became the central love theme of the picture. Some of the songs played during the parties and other scenes, including the piano rendition of "Ain't We Got Fun?," and a reprise by a chorus during the closing credits, had been mentioned within the text of Fitzgerald's novel. 1920s dances staged for the film included "The Charleston" and "The Black Bottom."
       According to a 3 Apr 1974 Var article, the film's New York City premiere was followed by a lavish party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the famed hotels gold plated tableware and other items were used to recreate the opulence of the Jazz Age of the 1920s. The film received mixed to negative reviews, with most critics commenting on what they viewed as a listless, albeit literarily faithful, adaptation of Fitzgerald's novel. Typical among the comments were those of NYT critic Vincent Canby, who called the picture "lifeless without being much fun," and Time magazine's Jay Cocks who wrote, "The film is faithful to the letter of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel but entirely misses its point." Reviews also variously criticized the selection of Farrow as Daisy and Redford as Gatsby, with Waterston and Dern receiving the most positive reviews for their performances.
       As noted in a 4 Jun 1974 HR article, in an address to the New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Yablans expressed his feelings that most film critics had not judged The Great Gatsby on its merits and roundly condemned their influence on the public. The picture was ranked eighth in the list of top moneymaking films of 1974, taking in $14,200.00 in the North American box office. The production received two Academy Awards nominations, and was awarded the Oscar in both categories: Costume design (Aldredge) and Adapted Score (Nelson Riddle).
       Two notable lawsuits were filled over the production. In Dec 1971, according to a 22 Dec 1971 Var news item, bandleader Artie Shaw, and his business partner, Gerald Seiff, filed a $5,400,000 suit against producer David Merrick over rights to Fitzgerald's novel. The case went on until Jun 1977, at which time, according articles in DV on 24 Jun 1977 and Var on 29 Jun 1977, Shaw was awarded $118,200 by the New York Supreme Court. According to various news items, Shaw's suit contended that he had acquired the rights to produce a Broadway version of The Great Gatsby from Frances Scott Fitzgerald Smith, daughter of the author, but that she terminated the contract in 1969, after Merrick and Paramount offered her "approximately $350,000" for rights to a film adaptation.
       Smith herself was not named in the suit, although her agent, Peter Shepard, and the Harold Ober Associates Agency were. The 1977 DV article reported that Smith had earned over $1,300,000 from her share of the film's profits, Merrick earned $800,000, the literary agents earned $130,000 and Paramount grossed $24,000,000. Although Shaw's attorneys stated that they would take the case further to claim part of the film's resultant profits, no additional information on the continuation of the suit has been located.
       In 1975, Merrick himself sued Paramount for $7,000,000, plus damages that the producer charged Paramount owed him as a percentage of the gross of distribution revenue from The Great Gatsby and other projects. According to a DV article on 7 May 1984, in Mar 1984, Paramount was ordered to pay $6,000,000 to Merrick by New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur E. Blyndaughter. In 1985, according to a 5 Dec 1985 DV news item, Smith filed a breach-of-contract suit against Merrick, "Charging that Merrick has refused to provide her [Smith] with an accounting of income he received" in his 1984 settlement with Paramount. The article went on to explain that the settlement between Paramount and Merrick did not stipulate what percentage of the $6,000,000 pertained to The Great Gatsby and what pertained to other Merrick projects, including the 1980 release Rough Cut . The disposition of Smith's suit has not been determined.
       There have been several film and television adaptations of Fitzgerald's novel, all of which were entitled The Great Gatsby . Both the 1926 and 1949 Paramount versions of The Great Gatsby were also based on an Owen Davis' 1926 play of the same name. For additional information on other adaptations of The Great Gatsby , please consult the entry above for the 1949 Paramount release. Actor Howard Da Silva, who portrayed "Meyer Wolfsheim" in the 1974 adaptation, portrayed "Wilson" in the 1949 adaptation. The character, said by Gatsby to be the man who fixed the 1919 World Series, was loosely inspired by gangster Arnold Rothstein (1888--1928). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Apr 1974
p.4675.
Cosmopolitan
19 Apr 1974.
---
Daily Variety
15 Dec 1971.
---
Daily Variety
30 May 1972.
---
Daily Variety
21 May 1973.
---
Daily Variety
18 Jun 1973.
---
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1973.
---
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1974
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 Apr 1974.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1977.
---
Daily Variety
7 May 1984.
---
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1985.
---
Esquire
Jul 1974
p. 144.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 1973
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1973
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 1973
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1974
p. 1, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 1974.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
21 Mar 1974.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
6 May 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Feb 1973
p. 1, 24.
Los Angeles Times
31 Mar 1974
Calendar, p. 1, 36.
Los Angeles Times
5 May 1974
Calendar, p. 21, 24.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Mar 1974
p. 85.
New Republic
13 Apr 1974
p. 20.
New York
8 Apr 1974
p. 77.
New York Review of Books
2 May 1974
pp. 35-37.
New York Times
17 Feb 1974.
---
New York Times
28 Mar 1974.
---
New York Times
31 Mar 1974
Sec II, p. 1.
New York Times
14 Jun 1974.
---
New Yorker
1 Apr 1974
pp. 93-98.
Newsweek
26 Mar 1973
p. 61.
Newsweek
23 Jul 1973
p. 73.
Newsweek
4 Feb 1974.
---
Newsweek
1 Apr 1974
p. 72.
People
18 Nov 1996.
---
Rolling Stone
9 May 1974
p. 160.
Saturday Review
4 May 1974
p. 57.
The Times (London)
19 Apr 1974.
---
Time
18 Mar 1974
pp. 80-91.
Time
1 Apr 1974
p. 88.
Variety
7 Jul 1971.
---
Variety
22 Dec 1971.
---
Variety
1 Nov 1972.
---
Variety
23 May 1973.
---
Variety
20 Jun 1973.
---
Variety
30 Jun 1973.
---
Variety
27 Mar 1974
p. 14.
Variety
3 Apr 1974.
---
Variety
29 Jun 1977.
---
Variety
9 May 1984.
---
Village Voice
10 Apr 1974
p. 81.
Vogue
Dec 1973.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A David Merrick Production; A Jack Clayton Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men`s ward
Women's ward executed by
Women's hats executed by
Jewelry
MUSIC
Mus supv/Arr and addl mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd ed and tech consultant
DANCE
Choreog
Asst [Choreog]
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Personal asst to Jack Clayton
Addl casting
Prod services furnished by
Unit pub
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (New York, 1925).
MUSIC
"Yes Sir, That's My Baby" by Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson
"I'm Gonna Charleston Back to Charleston" by Roy Turk and Lou Handman
"Beale Street Blues" by William C. Handy
+
MUSIC
"Yes Sir, That's My Baby" by Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson
"I'm Gonna Charleston Back to Charleston" by Roy Turk and Lou Handman
"Beale Street Blues" by William C. Handy
"Whispering" by John Schonberger, Richard Coburn and Vincent Rose and "Kitten on the Keys" by Zez Confrey.
+
SONGS
"What'll I Do" and "All Alone," by Irving Berlin
"When You and I Were Seventeen," by Gus Kahn and Charles Rosoff
"Ain't We Got Fun," by Gus Kahn, Raymond B. Egan and Richard A. Whiting
+
SONGS
"What'll I Do" and "All Alone," by Irving Berlin
"When You and I Were Seventeen," by Gus Kahn and Charles Rosoff
"Ain't We Got Fun," by Gus Kahn, Raymond B. Egan and Richard A. Whiting
"The Sheik of Araby," by Harry B. Smith, Francis Wheeler and Ted Snyder
"Who?," by Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern
"Charleston," by Cecil Mack and Jimmy Johnson
"It Had to Be You," by Gus Kahn and Isham Jones
"Three O'Clock in the Morning," by Dorothy Terriss and Julian Rubledo
"Alice Blue Gown," by Joseph McCarthy and Harry Tierney and "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue," by Samuel M. Lewis, Joseph Young and Ray Henderson.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1974
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 28 March 1974
Los Angeles opening: 3 April 1974
Production Date:
11 June--early October 1973 in Newport, RI and at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, England
Copyright Claimant:
Newdon COmpany
Copyright Date:
6 March 1974
Copyright Number:
LP43372
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed with Panavision equip
Duration(in mins):
144, 146 or 148
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23816
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1925, the mysterious Jay Gatsby throws, but rarely attends, lavish parties at his ostentatious West Egg mansion on Long Island Sound. Nick Carraway, a young stockbroker who has moved from Chicago to New York, rents a cottage on the edge of Gatsby's estate in June, and, like everyone else, becomes fascinated with his elusive neighbor. One evening, Nick's cousin, Daisy Buchanan, who lives in the more fashionable East Egg, directly across the sound from Gatsby's, invites Nick to dine with her and her millionaire husband Tom. Nick is fond of the emotionally delicate and beautiful Daisy, but less so of the boorish, aggressive Tom, with whom he went to Yale. At dinner, Daisy introduces Nick to Jordan Baker, a champion golfer, who is her childhood friend from Louisville. When Tom is called away to the telephone, Jordan whispers to Nick the rumor that Tom is keeping an apartment in New York for a woman. A short time later, Tom takes Nick for a drive and stops at George Wilson's garage, halfway between East and West Egg, situated just across from a huge billboard for optometrist Dr. T. J. Echleburg. Unknown to George, who is friendly with Tom and wants to buy his blue roadster to refurbish and sell, his earthy wife Myrtle is Tom's mistress. Tom and Myrtle arrange to meet in the city, and in Manhattan, insist that Nick come to their apartment. They invite Myrtle's sister Catherine and several neighbors to a raucous party, at which many of the guests discuss their theories about Gatsby. Catherine tells Nick that neither Tom nor Myrtle can stand the people to whom they are married. ... +


In 1925, the mysterious Jay Gatsby throws, but rarely attends, lavish parties at his ostentatious West Egg mansion on Long Island Sound. Nick Carraway, a young stockbroker who has moved from Chicago to New York, rents a cottage on the edge of Gatsby's estate in June, and, like everyone else, becomes fascinated with his elusive neighbor. One evening, Nick's cousin, Daisy Buchanan, who lives in the more fashionable East Egg, directly across the sound from Gatsby's, invites Nick to dine with her and her millionaire husband Tom. Nick is fond of the emotionally delicate and beautiful Daisy, but less so of the boorish, aggressive Tom, with whom he went to Yale. At dinner, Daisy introduces Nick to Jordan Baker, a champion golfer, who is her childhood friend from Louisville. When Tom is called away to the telephone, Jordan whispers to Nick the rumor that Tom is keeping an apartment in New York for a woman. A short time later, Tom takes Nick for a drive and stops at George Wilson's garage, halfway between East and West Egg, situated just across from a huge billboard for optometrist Dr. T. J. Echleburg. Unknown to George, who is friendly with Tom and wants to buy his blue roadster to refurbish and sell, his earthy wife Myrtle is Tom's mistress. Tom and Myrtle arrange to meet in the city, and in Manhattan, insist that Nick come to their apartment. They invite Myrtle's sister Catherine and several neighbors to a raucous party, at which many of the guests discuss their theories about Gatsby. Catherine tells Nick that neither Tom nor Myrtle can stand the people to whom they are married. She adds that Tom cannot divorce Daisy because she is a Catholic, but Nick knows that she is not. Later, as Tom and Myrtle become increasingly drunk, they fight when Tom accidentally sits on the tiny dog that he has bought her. After Myrtle snarls the name "Daisy" several times, Tom strikes her in the face, breaking her nose. Days later, at a sedate garden party at Daisy's, she reveals that she knows Tom is a philanderer and sadly relates that she cried when her daughter Pamela was born and prays that she will always be a beautiful little fool. Some time later, Nick attends one of Gatsby's parties and runs into Jordan, with whom he has become mutually attracted. While they are talking, a security guard summons Nick and takes him to the mansion's third floor. There he has his first meeting with Gatsby, who calls Nick "old sport" and explains that he thought they should become acquainted. The next day, Nick reluctantly accepts Gatsby's invitation to ride in his yellow Rolls Royce convertible. Although somewhat skeptical and uncomfortable, Nick listens politely as Gatsby recites his life story, saying that he was the last survivor of a very wealthy American family but was educated in Europe and decorated for his service at the Battle of the Argonne. Later, at a fashionable restaurant, Gatsby introduces Nick to Meyer Wolfsheim, an affable older man, whom Gatsby casually identifies as a gambler and the man who fixed the 1919 World Series. When Tom sees Nick across the restaurant, he approaches the table, but Gatsby slips away before Nick can introduce them. A few days later, Jordon visits Nick at his Manhattan office and tells him that Gatsby has asked her to approach him to be his intermediary and invite Daisy to tea. When Gatsby and Nick discuss the arrangement later, Nick refuses to accept any gift or payment, but bemusedly agrees to allow Gatsby's gardener to cut the lawn and bring flowers and a silver service. On the afternoon of the tea, Gatsby nervously waits for Daisy, certain that she will not come. When she does arrive, Nick starts to introduce them to each other, but Gatsby tells him that they met eight years ago, "next November." Sensing their feelings, Nick leaves them alone. When he returns, Gatsby invites him and Daisy to walk over to his mansion, where he gives them a tour and impresses her with his wealth. In his enormous clothes closet, Daisy, overwhelmed by the opulence of his imported silk shirts, sobs that she has never seen such beautiful shirts before. Soon, Daisy and Gatsby begin seeing each other secretly in the afternoons, while Nick and Jordan start a romance. One day, urged by Gatsby to reveal why she married Tom, she tells him that her heart was broken when he left Louisville. Eventually, feeling pressures from her family, because "rich girls don't marry poor boys," she wed Tom, a wealthy man from Chicago. Some time later, Daisy, Tom and Jordan attend one of Gatsby's parties. Daisy goes off with Gatsby, asking Nick to keep watch for Tom, who is jealous of the attention Daisy is giving to their host. The next day, Tom hires a private detective to investigate Gatsby, certain that he must be a bootlegger. As the weeks of summer pass, Gatsby stops giving parties and gradually dismisses his servants. Meanwhile, Myrtle yearns to go away with Tom and becomes more churlish with George, prompting him to decide to sell the garage and move West with her. On a very hot afternoon, Jordan, Nick and Gatsby have lunch at Tom and Daisy's house. Daisy affectionately kisses Gatsby while Tom is out of the room, and when he returns, the tension between him and Gatsby increases, making Nick and Jordan uncomfortable. Complaining of the heat, Daisy insists that they all drive into town. Gatsby allows Tom to drive his yellow Rolls Royce with Jordan and Nick, while he and Daisy drive in Tom's blue roadster. In Manhattan, they rent a suite and call for drinks, but the heat continues to plague them. As Tom and Gatsby start to argue, Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy is leaving him. He stuns Tom by saying that Daisy never loved him, but an almost hysterical Daisy tells Gatsby that he asks too much and runs from the suite as Tom insists that she loves him still. Meanwhile, George and Myrtle have a heated argument, during which she belittles him and tries to run from the garage. Later that afternoon, as Tom, Jordan and Nick drive back to East Egg in his blue roadster, they see signs of a traffic accident near the garage. Tom at first expresses satisfaction that Wilson will finally gain some badly needed business, but when he stops and passes through the crowd inside the garage, he is shocked to discover that Myrtle has been killed instantly by a hit and run driver. Hearing bystanders describe the vehicle as a big yellow car, Tom knows that it was Gatsby's, and bitterly tells Jordan and Nick that he did not even bother to stop. After arriving home, Tom and Jordan go inside, but Nick leaves and encounters Gatsby standing by the driveway. Concerned that Tom will bother Daisy, whom Gatsby says is very upset, he plans to stay outside all night if necessary. Meanwhile, at Wilson's garage, a neighbor tries to comfort George, who rambles that he should have known when Myrtle came home with a broken nose. He reveals that Myrtle thought that the man was coming for her and ran out but the car never stopped and kept driving on, even after hitting her. The next day, when Gatsby goes to Nick's cottage, he inadvertently reveals that it was Daisy who was driving the car and did not stop. Disgusted by Daisy’s callousness, Nick wants Gatsby to tell the police, but he refuses and repeats that he does not believe that Daisy ever loved Tom. At the same time, as Daisy and Tom gently touch hands across the breakfast table at their house, George comes onto the property. When he goes to Tom, whom he saw driving the yellow Rolls earlier the day before, Tom tells him that it was Gatsby who was driving the car later. Back at Nick's cottage, as Gatsby leaves, Nick calls out to him saying "they're a rotten crowd; you're worth the whole damn bunch put together." A short time later, as Gatsby floats in his pool, George secretly enters the house. When Gatsby hears something, he thinks that it is Daisy, but moments later, George pulls a gun and shoots Gatsby five times, then puts the gun in his own mouth and pulls the trigger. That afternoon, as the police and onlookers gather, Nick is stunned by the murder-suicide. For the next several days, Nick tries to organize Gatsby's funeral but no one, not even Daisy or Wolsheim will attend. On the morning of the funeral, an unassuming, elderly man arrives in a taxi and tells Nick that he is Mr. Gats, Gatsby's father. Throughout the afternoon, Gats tells Nick about his generous son, "Jimmy," and tearfully reads passages from Gatsby's youthful diary's resolves, in which the young boy spoke of improving himself and being better to his parents. Some weeks later, Nick meets Jordan in a New York hotel lobby and learns that Tom and Daisy are staying at the hotel after moving from their house, and are about to leave for Europe while their new house is being built. When Tom arrives, Nick refuses to take his hand and tells him that he knows Tom told Wilson that Gatsby was driving the yellow car that killed Myrtle. Before Nick has a chance to tell Tom that Daisy was actually the driver, she arrives and hugs Nick before she, Tom, Pamela and their assorted servants and trunks exit the hotel. Later, at Gatsby's now deserted mansion, Nick looks across the sound to the green light at the dock of Daisy's former home. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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