In order to prepare myself for what is sure to be an extremely emotional day (aka seeing Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby), other than packing my bag with tissues, cheap candy, a paper bag, and a few adult diapers, I also watched the 1974 version, even with the knowledge that it figuratively sucked balls.
And man, did it live up to those expectations.
The biggest problem that this older version has is the actors...and the script...and the directing. (Oh God, this is going to be a long post.)
The script follows the book too closely. Almost exactly, except for some of Nick's narrative. Listen, The Great Gatsby's a fantastic book, but if you just take the words and lay them into a script format, it's going to eff shit up. What holds the book together is Nick's constant narrative of everything going on. When you take that away, all you're left with is this shitty choice of actors whispering about their problems and sweaty faces.
Speaking of the actors (we'll get to the sweat later), I basically have a problem with each one in this movie.
Tom Buchanan is supposed to be this booming, powerful man who acts like he owns everything in the room. Instead it's this guy with a mousy face and a whiny voice and really isn't scary at all.
I suppose Mia Farrow did an okay job at being Daisy, only because Daisy's the most conceited, annoying character of all. So...
Jordan in the book is known to be an athlete, a liar, and overall reckless. In the movie she's this wispy, airy, shallow pool of annoyance. She's set up as Daisy in a minor role.
I don't really know how to describe Robert Redford's Jay Gatsby. He was just there.
Nick? Nick was okay.
But everyone, everyone was whispering. Why? You've got characters in this movie that are supposed to have over-exaggerated everything, but they're all speaking softly, like they're in church. I suppose it's like when you're in a classroom and no one's talking. Then, when someone does begin to talk, they do so quietly because they're the only one. Now if someone else wants to join the conversation, they're probably going to match the volume so as to not be a complete annoyance. But there are always those one or two people in the class that talk so loudly no matter if anyone else is talking. That's how Tom and sometimes Daisy and Gatsby should have freaking talked.
And everyone was so sweaty. No one is ever that sweaty in real life. I don't care if it really is so hot you decide to take your cars and go to the Plaza. You wipe that shit off your face.
So, Dear 2013 Gatsby, please don't let me down. Let Tobey and Leo and Carey and Joel and Isla and Elizabeth fucking rock this movie. And if not, at least I'll have some nice butts to look at.