There was never any doubt that I would see Baz Luhrmann’s long-awaited cinematic interpretation of “The Great Gatsby,” the intriguing story of a man who chased the American dream in pursuit of the woman he loved, as soon as it appeared on screen. Last night, I got a screening pass to see it–at the legendary and opulent Ziegfeld theater no less–and it did not disappoint.
Mia Farrow as Daisy in the 1973 version was one of my earliest style icons, and I well remember a thwarted desire to waft around in floaty drop-waist white dresses and cloche hats after seeing that. I couldn’t wait to see how director Baz Luhrmann updated that classic, not to mention his uncanny ability to combine contemporary soundtracks with classic tales.
Watching Luhrmann’s earlier movies “Romeo & Juliet” (1996) and “Moulin Rouge” (2001) made my heart sing. I found the prospect of a music score by Jay Z played over an authentic Art Deco production design, intriguing. Imagine my delight in the fact that The Ziegfeld movie theater has the best audio system in New York.
I discovered the delights of watching a film through 3-D glasses a couple of years ago with Wim Wenders’ documentary about the legendary choreographer, Pina Bausch (Pina 2011) and I’ve never looked back. Not just for action films, it’s arguably the wave of the future and much as talkies superseded silent films and black and white gave way to color.
I suspect that all films will one day be viewed this way, a development I, for one, would welcome. It literally added an extra dimension to the already sumptuous sets, specifically during Gatsby’s notoriously nouveau riche parties, full of crazed flappers, ever-flowing champagne fountains, streamers and balloons and of course the centrally-located, classically-featured swimming pool.
Daisy’s “old money” countenance is in strong contrast; emphasized symbolically throughout by her jewelry. Indeed, the first we see of her is a hand casually draped across the back of a sofa wearing an engagement ring with a diamond as big as The Ritz. In following scenes, there is a cornucopia of striking diamond-and-pearl Art Deco pieces including cuffs, a headband, a bracelet that attaches to a ring and a hair slide. Daisy’s friend, Jordan Baker also wears some remarkable pieces including a to-die-for necklace.
Daisy also has a dress (created in collaboration with Miuccia Prada) that appears to have been made up of giant, acetate diamonds. As Baz Luhrmann stated in a recent interview “Tom Buchanan had a thing for wrapping his women in jewelry. (Daisy) is literally bound in jewelry, he’s got (her) in a gilded cage.”
At 143 minutes, the film is long, but it seemed to go by in a flash, as fleeting as Gatsby and Daisy’s moment in the Long Island sun.