Against a background of hot jazz, Prohibition and wild parties, mysterious young millionaire Jay Gatsby (Robert Redford) becomes involved in Long Island high society. His lavish social gatherings are held to lure his long-lost love, Daisy Buchanan (Mia Farrow) away from her cruel but extremely wealthy husband, Tom (Bruce Dern).
Gatsby has risen from penniless young man to millionaire in three years – exactly how is one of many mysteries surrounding him.
This was Paramount’s third stab at bringing F Scott Fitzgerald’s Roaring Twenties classic to the screen. Robert Redford is unquestionably more handsome than Alan Ladd (who starred in the 1949 version), but he’s no more demonstrative or credible as the millionaire with a dark past.
Mia Farrow, meanwhile, is better cast than Betty Field, though her Daisy Buchanan is more skittishly irresponsible than irresistibly infatuating.
While Jack Clayton’s direction is suitably languid, the lush imagery only reinforces the superficiality of Francis Ford Coppola’s reverential script.
Hopelessly middlebrow, this is a film of considerable beauty, but only surface depth.
Howard Da Silva