Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald died 73 years ago so we have no way of knowing what the Great Gatsby author would make of Baz Luhrmann's uproarious adaptation of his 1925 novel that opens on May 10. We can, however, look to his review of the 1926 film adaptation, directed by Herbert Brenon. The author's wife Zelda wrote of the movie: "We saw The Great Gatsby in the movies. It’s rotten and awful and terrible and we left." The Fitzgeralds would be happy to know that the movie is now lost, and all that remains is a one-minute trailer that website Open Culture recently published.
The early Gatsby adaptation was 80 minutes long and contained many of the lavish party scenes that Luhrmann's version will feature — starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke as the Jazz Age partygoers. In Brenon's movie, Warner Baxter — a silent-screen idol who was once the highest paid actor in the industry — played Jay Gatsby. DiCaprio has a lot to live up to, but at least he can feel better knowing he won't be compared to a real-deal Roaring '20s star whose movie is floating somewhere in the ether.
Note: This post originally ran on April 10, but we're reposting today with The Great Gatsby due in theaters this weekend.