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The Great Gatsby Film Analysis

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Elise Senior

on 26 March 2014

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby Film Analysis

The Great Gatsby Film Analysis
Section A
Parties to belong
Every weekend, hundreds of people from all walks of life accumulate at Gatsby’s door, uninvited, taking advantage of his generosity. These outrageous parties are a way of masking Gatsby’s past and hide the struggles he faced in order to create a name for himself. Gatsby holds the parties to prove his wealth to the people of “Old Money” in a bid to find acceptance. The people that attend Gatsby’s parties have a pre-conceived idea of who Gatsby really is, but no one knows the truth.

The main purpose of the parties is to however try to attract Daisy’s attention, as Gatsby still believes there is hope for them of still belonging together.

This afternoon tea with Nick, Gatsby and Daisy is set in Nick’s cottage next to Gatsby’s mansion, this is represented in both the Baz Luhrmann (2013) and Robert Redford (1974) films as this is how it is depicted in the Novel. However the house is in the Baz Luhrmann film is much smaller and cluttered than the larger and more spacious one represented in the 1974 version, Luhrmann does this too exaggerate the difference in social classes between Nick and Gatsby. In both scenes, a large amount of flowers is displayed in the house due to Gatsby wanting to impress Daisy, in the 1974 version only white roses are used, this represents purity and innocence. In the 2013 version, there is a larger amount and variety of flowers, Luhrmann aimed to exaggerate Gatsby’s wealth and his dedication to impressing Daisy. The weather in both versions is raining and cloudy, this represents Gatsby’s emotions and desperation before meeting Daisy. As the weather clears, Gatsby and Daisy become comfortable with each other as they rekindle their love. In the 2013 version, the weather is heavily raining and storming as Gatsby appears more desperate and worried for Daisy’s arrival where as in the 1974 version, there is a light drizzle as Gatsby does not seem as flustered.
In both versions, the music adds drama and emotion to the scene but in different ways. In the 1974 version, the music is played with string instruments and represents sorrow, sadness and despair. In the 2013 version, the music becomes uplifting and highlights the importance of the reconciliation between Daisy and Gatsby.
Nick receives invitation
Nick is one of the only guests to ever be invited to one of Gatsby’s extravagant house parties. This represents how Gatsby wants Nick to fit into his world and be a part of something bigger than himself. Nick is the only guest to receive an invite, which causes him to feel excluded, alone, and slightly embarrassed. Nick felt as though he did not belong at the party although Gatsby’s aim was the opposite as he intentionally invited him in order to aid Nick in his journey to find belonging.
Gatsby's Smile
Gatsby’s smile encapsulates his desire for Nick to belong in the society in which they live, that relies on money to determine class. His wealthy appearance and confident charisma masks the fact that he is does not belong with the people he surrounds himself with. The camera angle focuses on a close up of both characters facial expressions emphasizing Nick’s shock in discovering Gatsby and Gatsby’s pride in his name and achievements. Throughout the scene, Nick is looking up towards Gatsby showing his superiority over not only Nick but also all guests at the party. Nicks description of Gatsby’ smile symbolizes his warmth, inviting nature and how he persuades Nick that he understands him as if he would like to be understood.
A significant symbol in both versions is the clock situated upon Nick’s mantelpiece. It represents how eager Gatsby is to repeat the past that he spent with Daisy. In the 1974 version, the clock is only mentioned briefly but in the 2013 version, Luhrmann increases the ticking of the clock emphasizing the awareness of the time passing. When Gatsby breaks the clock, Luhrmann implies that no matter how hard Gatsby tries, he will never be able to repeat the past.
In both scenes, Gatsby wears a white suit to portray a new and more pure image of himself to impress Daisy. In the 2013 version, Gatsby appears more frantic and stressed about the uncertainty of his future with Daisy yet in the Redford version he seems more relaxed but still anxious as he is very aware of the time. Daisy wears a lilac dress, which represents wealth and confidence, she wears this to show that she had no intention of leaving Tom Buchanan and the old money class for Gatsby. In the 2013 version Nick is wearing a casual sweater that shows he is comfortable around both his guests, in the 1974 version he wears a suit showing that he is more aware of his appearance.
By Emily Bullock, Georgia Goodings, Gemma Gardiner and Elise Senior
The scene we have chosen to analyze, that explores the idea of belonging, was the scene where Nick first attended one of Gatsby's parties. Nick was the only one to receive an invitation yet he felt the most out of place. When Nick and Gatsby first meet each other this concludes our scene.
Gatsby recognizes Nick from the War. This instantly creates a sense of belonging, even though the two are from different classes in the social hierarchy. Baz Luhrmann may have included this to represent how war, during this period, was an equalizer between classes and the uniform created a sense of belonging. The war was the only place where Gatsby truly felt he belonged and was accepted by others. He felt this way, as his wealth was not a defining factor in the war.
Social Classes of Nick and Gatsby
Gatsby was a wealthy man who began his life, poor and worked hard to achieve great success. Despite being “richer than God”, Gatsby was still not accepted by the upper class of “old money”, due to the rivalry of the newly rich and those who inherited, which was the cause of Gatsby never finding a sense belonging. Nick moved to New York in the hopes of finding wealth. Nick found himself caught between two classes, as he was poor but was related to old money, Daisy Buchanan. Although Gatsby and Nick were on opposite ends of the social spectrum, neither belonged within their society.
Section B
In the 1974 version, Redford states the it has been nearly 8 years since he last saw Daisy, where as Dicaprio says that it has only been 5 years. Luhrmann shortens the time difference to make it a more realistic time representation for Gatsby to still love Daisy. Redford says the larger time difference to emphasize how long it has been since the two had met and how Gatsby still loves her after such a long period of time.
Camera Angles
In the 1974 version, when Gatsby and Daisy meet for the first time, there is a close up on both their facial expressions to help the audience understand the emotion that both characters are feeling. The close up shot creates an intimacy between the two as they have known each other in the past. In the 2013 version, there are wider shots of character positioning which allows the audience to see more of the body language represented. This also enables the viewer to see the full extent of Nick’s house and the effort Gatsby made to win over Daisy through parading his wealth.
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