What’s That Movie? The Aviator – a Martin Scorsese picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett

I recently read a Howard Hughes biography – Howard Hughes: The Untold Story by Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske (you can read my review here) and knew I had to follow up with the highly recommended movie about this unique historical figure.

The biography of Howard Hughes is very good and covers more years than the movie.

The Aviator was made in 2004 and has an impressive cast of stars: Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn, and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner. Other stars include Ian Holm, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Gwen Stefani, Kelli Garner, Matt Ross, Willem Dafoe, Alan Alda, and Edward Herrmann.

The film covers Hughes’s life from 1927 – 1947. It begins with the making of the film Hell’s Angels and continues with the pioneering years of TWA and Hughes Aircraft, as Hughes broke flight records and secured government contracts during World War II. The later part of the film highlights how Hughes unravels due to his obsessive-compulsive disorder.

I thought the movie was great. DiCaprio’s portrayal of Hughes is excellent from beginning to end and Cate Blanchett is terrific as Katherine Hepburn. I also enjoyed seeing familiar actors, especially Alec Baldwin who plays the head of Pan America and Alan Alda who plays a U.S. Senator with close links to Pan Am and who is also bent on bringing Hughes down.

Can I say that the cinematography was great without sounding like I’m trying to be a film expert? It did win for that and I found the whole movie exciting to watch, from the Hollywood scenes to the plane scenes, including one dramatic crash that really took me there.

It’s not based on the book, just on the life of Howard Hughes, and not his early years or his later ones, even though it’s nearly three hours long! What’s left out of this portrayal is how Hughes was obsessed with having and controlling a shocking number of women. There’s a hint of it, though.

The Aviator was nominated for eleven awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor for DiCaprio, and Best Supporting Actor for Alda, winning five: Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, and Best Supporting Actress for Cate Blanchett. You can read more about the film on Wikipedia and IMDb.

Have you watched this movie? Since I have some more free time on my hands, I think I may watch it again!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

The Great Gatsby movies – what a difference!

The 1974 Gatsby
The 1974 Gatsby

Have you seen both Gatsby movies? What a shocker! After watching the 2013 Gatsby, I knew I was going to have to watch the older version and re-read the book, just to get a handle on the differences. I remember seeing the 1974 version and liking it, but that was a long time ago. So if you’ve seen both, maybe you’ll agree with me, and maybe you will prefer one over the other.

Here it is in 2013

The Great Gatsby (2013) in 3D, was directed by Baz Luhrmann. Luhrmann is an Australian film director who has also directed Australia (2008), Strictly Ballroom (1992), Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Romeo + Juliet (1996). Luhrmann and Craig Pearce co-wrote the screenplay. This movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan and Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway.

This film is very different. It’s shiny, glitzy, loud, manic, surreal and a little bit campy. The party scenes are insane, and the background music is rap and hip hop, with just a little bit of jazz. That threw me off balance. Luhrmann uses a film technique that quickly zooms in on characters and places, with a “whoosh” kind of sound effect. What’s surprising, however, is how true this film is to the plot and dialogue and the scenes, while crisp and modern and almost “in your face,” are very similar to the 1974 Gatsby and to the book itself.

The earlier version of the The Great Gatsby was released in 1974 and was directed by Jack Clayton. Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay. This movie stars Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan, Bruce Dern as Tom Buchanan and Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway.

When I watched this one again, after just having watched Baz Luhrmann’s version, I was shocked at s-l-o-w-l-y this version moved, how quietly the characters spoke and how very tame their antics were compared to the 2013 Gatsby. A great example is the party at Myrtle’s New York apartment. In Luhrmann’s movie, everyone there is going crazy. It’s like a super wound-up frat party – adults gone wild! But in the 1974 movie, you’d hardly know it was the same party. Gatsby’s house parties are also much calmer in the older film, but the contrast isn’t as strong.

Something else that struck me was how drippy and sweaty everyone is in the 1974 movie. I can’t imagine being a man back then and wearing all that gear – three-piece suits, buttoned up and ties knotted tightly. Sweat is just pouring out of those guys! The women had it much better clothes-wise back then, but the heavy make-up and its smudgy drippy-ness makes me thankful for air conditioning (and less make-up!). Everyone is still good-looking though and it doesn’t take away from the film. I actually think it’s a good depiction of the time. There isn’t nearly as much sweat in the 2013 film – everyone looks pretty and fresh, except for George Wilson, who always looks sweaty.

This movie also follows the book’s plot and dialogue very closely, with just a few changes. And the casting is very similar. Leonardo DiCaprio looks a lot like Robert Redford and there is a strong likeness between all the characters. I thought it was interesting how two very different films could have nearly the same foundation in plot and casting.

One of the characters that seemed especially different, however, was Meyer Wolfsheim, who is based on the real Arnold Rothstein, a Jewish gangster and the man responsible for fixing the World Series in 1919. He looks like a deceivingly nice man in the 1974 movie, but the 2013 Wolfsheim is just plain scary, and much younger.

And, while Toby Maguire looks a lot like Sam Waterston’s Nick Carraway, the new Nick is much goofier than the old one, and I think that takes away from the film.

I think I prefer the 1974 movie overall, for nostalgic reasons and because it wasn’t so exhausting to watch. Maybe a younger set prefers a slick, modern adaptation. There is one scene I think is much more powerful in the 2013 movie – the confrontation between Daisy, Tom and Gatsby at The Plaza in New York. Leonardo DiCaprio explodes with anger in that scene, revealing his defeated self. It’s very realistic. In the 1974 movie, Robert Redford simply clenches, then un-clenches his fist, a little too tame, even for me!

I’m glad I watched both, and re-read the book. It’s a great story and worth the time.

I had a little fun comparing the looks of each character from both movies. See how much they look alike?

Here's Robert Redford
Here’s Robert Redford as Gatsby…

 

 

 

 

Gatsby leo
…and here’s Leonardo DiCaprio as the man.
Here's Mia Farrow...
Here’s Mia Farrow…
daisy 2013
and here’s Carey Mulligan as Daisy.
Nick 1974
Sam Waterston is Nick Carraway.
Nick 2013
Toby Maguire is a goofier Nick.
Bruce Dern is a good Tom Buchanan.
Bruce Dern is a good Tom Buchanan.
tom 2013
Joel Edgerton is the new Tom.
jordan 1974
Lois Chiles plays Jordan Baker in 1974.
jordan 2013
This is Elizabeth Debicki as the new Jordan.
meyer 1974
Howard Da Silva looks like a deceivingly nice Meyer Wolfsheim.
meyer 2013
Amitabh Bachchan plays the modern Meyer.
George 1974
Scott Wilson is the original George.
George 2013
This is Jason Clark as George Wilson in the 2013 film.
myrtle 1974
Karen Black plays the old Myrtle Wilson.
myrtle 2013
Isla Fisher is Myrtle in the 2013 movie.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

The Great Gatsby – 2013 movie

The Great Gatsby movie
I think Leonardo DiCaprio looks a lot like Robert Redford in this movie!

Last night I watched the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby. I knew it was going to be different and I was curious to see why. I read the book once in high school and again in college and I’ve seen the 1974 movie a couple times, but that was a long time ago! Now all I want to do is watch the 1974 movie again and re-read the book, so I can compare them all!

The Great Gatsby movie orig
Now I’m going to re-watch the 1974 movie!

Have you seen the 2013 movie? What did you think?

The Great Gatsby, published in 1925, was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and is considered one of the greatest books in American Literature.

The Great Gatsby
And of course, these movies are based on this great book!

Here’s some information about the two movies and a couple other adaptations:

The Great Gatsby (2013) in 3D, was directed by Baz Luhrmann. Luhrmann is an Australian film director who has also directed Australia (2008), Strictly Ballroom (1992), Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Romeo + Juliet (1996). Luhrmann and Craig Pearce co-wrote the screenplay. This movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan and Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway.

The earlier version of the The Great Gatsby was released in 1974 and was directed by Jack Clayton. Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay. This movie stars Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan, Bruce Dern as Tom Buchanan and Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway.

There have been other film adaptations of The Great Gatsby: a silent film in 1926 starring Warner Baxter and Lois Wilson and a 1949 film starring Alan Ladd and Betty Field. A TV film was made in 2000, starring Toby Stephens, Miro Sorvino and Paul Rudd.

Thanks to IMDb.com and Wikipedia for this information.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon for a comparison of all three!