Release Date: May 7, 2013
Source: DVD sent by BBC in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
About the DVD: (from the publicist)
The novel The Great Gatsby has only increased in popularity since it was initially published in 1925, with its author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, holding nearly as much of the public’s fascination. An emblem of the roaring ‘20s, Fitzgerald’s personal story is as interesting as his writing. With narration from Tara Fitzgerald and featuring contributions by the author’s granddaughter Eleanor Lanahan, plus writers Hunter S. Thompson, George Plimpton, Jay McInerney, and more, this program presents a fascinating portrait of this enduring American icon.
The Great Gatsby: Midnight In Manhattan, produced in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of The Great Gatsby for the BBC’s acclaimed art series Omnibus, explores the life and dark creative spirit of its writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald. It examines his disappointing college days at Princeton, his difficult relationship with fellow author Ernest Hemingway, and his turbulent last days in Hollywood. It dispels the age-old mythology surrounding Fitzgerald, largely created by himself, which tends to glamorize the Jazz-Age and his alcoholism.
I loved seeing all the different experts (many you will recognize) give their opinions and dissections of one of my favorite books. Some of their opinions matched my own, but I had never put it into words as nicely as they did. Other times, they thought of the book in a totally different way than I had.
The documentary also shed a lot of light on Fitzgerald's life and career. A lot of this information was new to me. I had no idea that he didn't sell that many books during his lifetime. I suppose just because he was a celebrity didn't mean that people were actually reading his books! Shockingly, the film stated that more copies of The Great Gatsby are sold in one month in America now that sold during Fitzgerald's entire lifetime.
There were signs that the documentary wasn't brand new, I later discovered the the film was actually made in 2000. This is somewhat interesting in itself, because they addressed the decadence of the 1920s before the stock market crash, and compared it to the decadence of 2000. The Great Gatsby is said to predict a fall after the lavish lifestyles of the 20s, and it was eerie to me that the documentary itself showed the Twin Towers many times, while saying that another crash was inevitable. Knowing what happened in the US in 2001, made the timing of the documentary a bit eerie.
Also included in the DVD is a short play featuring Fitzgerald, his wife, Zelda, and Ernest Hemingway as the main characters. The play adds a little bit of depth to the personalities we learned about in the main feature.
Bottom Line: This is definitely a great addition to a fan's collection. Even those who hadn't previously known a lot about Fitzgerald or his books would find this documentary engaging.
Purchase The Great Gatsby: Midnight in Manhattan here:
Disclosure: I received a copy of this DVD from BBC in exchange for an honest review.