It may be the story of the crushed American dream, but the notion of place in the movie version of The Great Gatsby, like the novel, spans through cities, countries and remote villages.
It’s not only the tragedy of unrequited love that appeals to old fans and new enthusiasts; it’s also the belief that in some way, despite countless movies that have been made along with A-list stars and millions of dollars hurled at the classic story, it is just too abstractly powerful to capture the imagination of the world in film form.
The Many Cities Of The Great Gatsby
Maybe this time will be different. After all, the movie was shot in Sydney, Australia by an Australian director who drew inspiration from an audio version of the book while on the Trans-Siberian Express travelling across the Russian steppes. It’s a mouthful, but it could just be the mouthful that sets 2013's Great Gatsby apart from the ‘25,’49, and ‘74 film adaptations of the book.
Maybe mixing some Beyonce, Jay-Z and even our very own Emeli Sande between the ostentatious glamour of the 1920s will get the younger audience involved. Or maybe, like the movies that came before it, the literary prose that makes the book so special will fall short in the movie, and the comment that The New York Times gave in 1974 will ring all too true: “The Problem is that Gatsby really has a plot no bigger than a pea”. Without a fantastic plot, few movies would do well.
Location, Location, Location
The desolate stretch of land between New York and West Egg known as the “Valley of Ashes” is actually shot in the former industrial area of Balmain, nestled in the Inner West of Sydney.
Gatsby’s famous estate that plays host to all the lavish parties on Long Island, is in reality, Centennial Park, a well-known recreational area in Sydney. In the movie, Cook Road in Centennial Park is seen as the entrance to Gatsby’s mansion.
Glebe Island was the location for shooting all the general scenes and was filled with actors and vintage cars for the duration of the filming. The old city is no stranger to all the activity though - it was the main receiving venue for imported cars up until 2008.
Filming also moved out of Sydney and delved into the Blue Mountains, a stretch of wilderness frequented by hikers and day-trippers.
The movie of the diminished American dream may have been filmed all over Sydney, Australia, but on Thursday, May 16, it will be hitting British shores. The question is: Will you be one of the people flocking to the theatre in the hopes that director, Baz Luhrmann, has managed to capture The Great Gatsby the way F.Scott.Fitzgerald did? Or will you be one of the fans who stay at home reading the book and attempting to remember what first made you fall in love with it?more blog posts