‘The Great Gatsby’ at The Court House Warwick

Throw on your glad rags and join us for an evening of 1920s decadence with ‘The Great Gatsby’ at The Court House Warwick on the 11th of April 2019. We’ll be screening Baz Luhrmann’s elaborate remake in the Ballroom of this Grade 1 listed building with a large screen, Blu-ray picture and 5.1 surround sound.

A quick recap:

It’s the spring of 1922, and wide-eyed Midwesterner Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) has arrived in New York in pursuit of adventure. It just so happens that the mysterious Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives right next door and is the purveyor of all things thrilling, throwing elaborate parties for the local Long Island socialites. Just across the bay is Carraway’s cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan) who’s shared history with Gatsby soon causes complications that none of them could have imagined. Romance, debauchery and longing collide in one of the great American novels.
There have been endless iterations of ‘The Great Gatsby’, but Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 retelling is perhaps the most visually spectacular; his bombastic style is full of invention with art deco detail bursting from every frame. If you saw his take on Romeo + Juliet or the romantic excess of Moulin Rouge, you’ll know what to expect in this requiem for the American Dream.

This is fantastically enjoyable, and a blast. It is wild and rampant and thrilling.
The Spectator

To get into full Gatsby mode here are a few facts about the film, the novel, and Fitzgerald himself. By the time we see you on the 11th, you’re sure to be an expert. Now read on, old sport!

  1. Funnily enough, the novel of ‘The Great Gatsby’ wasn’t a success when it was initially published. In fact, it sold no more than 25,000 copies in Fitzgerald’s lifetime compared to the over 25 million it has sold today. Not only that, but it was mauled by critics with the Baltimore Evening Sun saying that ‘Scott Fitzgerald’s new novel, The Great Gatsby, is in form no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that.’
  2. The original Gatsby film (as opposed to the beloved Robert Redford 1974 outing) was filmed just one year after the novel was published in 1926. This was in the pre-talkies age of cinema and so the film was a silent adaption of the stage version. It’s said that only a minute of footage survives which would certainly make for an interesting comparison with Luhrmann’s take on the material!
  3. Baz Luhrmann first made the decision to adapt ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 2004 after listening to the audiobook of the novel. He said of the experience, ‘I had two bottles of red wine and the new iPod with two recorded books. There’s Siberia ticking by, and the birch trees, and the wine bottle, and I’m listening [to Gatsby] … and when it ended, I had inconsolable melancholia. I was like, ‘Can we do all that again?’’
  4. DiCaprio was the only actor Luhrmann ever approached for the role of Jay Gatsby. Luckily enough, DiCaprio was already drawn to the character and said that he was intrigued by, ‘the idea of a man who came from absolutely nothing, who created himself solely from his own imagination. Gatsby’s one of those iconic characters because he can be interpreted in so many ways: a hopeless romantic, a completely obsessed wacko or a dangerous gangster, clinging to wealth.’
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  5. In contrast to DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan was way down on a list of actors lined up to play Daisy Buchanan. Ahead of her were favourites like Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson and many more. When she finally got the call, Mulligan says that ‘I only found out about it three days before the audition, so I read the book for the first time.’ Without her inclusion, it may have been a very different film.
  6. Truman Capote was the screenwriter for the 1974 film adaption before he was unceremoniously taken off the project. The studio invoked the usual line of ‘creative differences’, however, it’s said that his adaption was too ‘controversial’ for audiences of the era. In his version, Nick Carraway was in love with Gatsby and Jordan Baker was also stated to be gay – both of which the studio reportedly deemed unacceptable and so they brought on heavy-hitter Francis Ford Coppola instead.
  7. Many people from the real-world inspired characters within the novel. Meyer Wolfshiem was based on Arnold Rothstein – an infamous New York crime boss, who was blamed for fixing the 1919 World Series. Equally, Daisy Buchanan was said to be inspired socialite Ginevra King whom Fitzgerald dated for two years before she broke it off.
  8. The soundtrack to Luhrmann’s remake caused quite a stir when it was released in 2013, with many jazz era purists balking at the inclusion of Jay-Z, Lana Del Rey, Andre 3000 etc. This anachronistic selection did, however, have a purpose; in an interview with Rolling Stone, the director said that ‘the question for me in approaching Gatsby was how to elicit from our audience the same level of excitement and pop-cultural immediacy toward the world that Fitzgerald did for his audience? And in our age, the energy of jazz is caught in the energy of hip-hop.’
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  9. The original title of the novel wasn’t after its central character; Fitzgerald toyed with all sorts of other ideas before reluctantly settling on what we know it to be today. Alternatives ranged from the ‘Gold-Hatted Gatsby’ to ‘Under the Red, White and Blue’, and even ‘On the Road to West Egg, Trimalchio in West Egg’ which was an allusion to a character from the Roman work by Petronius, the Satyricon. We think he made the right choice in the end.
  10. Cult-favourite, Hunter S. Thompson retyped ‘The Great Gatsby’ word for word so that he could feel what it was like to write like Fitzgerald. Whether or not he incorporated any Gatsby-isms in his later work is open to investigation…

Let us know if we missed any key facts on Twitter at @BigPicShow1. To nab tickets for ‘The Great Gatsby’ at The Court House Warwick, book online at eventbrite.co.uk or call 01926 830 808. Tickets will be available for purchase at the Tourist Information Centre, at Warwick Town Council. See you there!

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