F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was published 98 years ago today, on April 10, 1925. Despite less-than-thrilling sales, the following year, Paramount Pictures turned it into an 80-minute silent film starring Warner Baxter as Jay Gatsby, with Lois Wilson as Daisy and William Powell as George Wilson.
Someone named Mordaunt Hall reviewed the adaptation for the New York Times in November, calling it “quite a good entertainment” but complaining that it “would have benefited by more imaginative direction.” For instance: “Daisy is seen in one episode assuaging her disappointment in life by drinking absinthe. She takes enough of this beverage to render the average person unconscious. Yet she appears only mildly intoxicated, and soon recovers.”
But not everyone found it good entertainment. When F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald saw the film, Zelda wrote to their daughter Scottie: “We saw The Great Gatsby in the movies. It’s ROTTEN and awful and terrible and we left.”
I’d tell you to make up your own mind, but you can’t. The film is now lostall that’s left is this trailer, which includes less than a minute of scenes from the film. Glean what you can: