Groucho Marx died August 19, 1977, but his passing
was somewhat overshadowed by the death of Elvis
Presley on August 16th. It's sort of the way that
Princess Diana's August 31, 1997 passing crowded
out the news stories of Mother Teresa's death on
September 5th of that year. Say what you will, I
miss Groucho the most.
Yesterday I sat down and watched The Great Gatsby (1974), which I had never seen before. I never read the book or saw any of the other films. It's full of great cars and great music. The production design really gives you a Jazz Age feeling. Robert Redford plays the strange Jay Gatsby. Bruce Dern is his usual scary self. Sam Waterston is alternately baffled and bemused. Scott Wilson plays a slow, spooky guy named Wilson. Howard Da Silva, for once, plays a non-sinister person. Delicious Lois Chiles plays golf. The delightful Kathryn Leigh Scott plays someone's sister. Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay. It runs 144 minutes, but I rarely used the Fast Forward button. It was indeed entertaining. I personally had problems with the suspension-of-disbelief in the romantic parts. You see, Robert Redford's Gatsby falls in love with Daisy Buchanan, a monumentally shallow, neurotic, jittery airhead played by the monumentally jittery Mia Farrow. Ewww! And psycho Bruce Dern's Tom Buchanan is cheating on Mia with an annoying and unattractive character named Myrtle, who is played by the thoroughly annoying and unattractive Karen Black. Yuck! (You can tell this is pretty serious and high-brow film criticism, right?) It is sometimes hard to tell what's more repellant, the annoying female characters or the annoying actresses playing them. Anyway, bear with me here. I liked the film, but I found the romantic entanglements simply unbelievable. I mean, for me, it's far more likely that a man would fall in love with Lois Chiles; she's cute as a button and not bipolar. Or a man might go for the intriguing Kathryn Leigh Scott, who plays Karen Black's sister and is obviously the better looking and more grounded sibling. I mean, me, if I pulled up to a garden party in a yellow Rolls-Royce and got out and saw Mia Farrow and Karen Black waiting for me, I'd get back in my WAY cool ride and head elsewhere. That's just me, all right? I'm just saying...
Jittery jittery jittery