The Great Gatsby (1974)
|Year Of Production||1974|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (65:57)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jack Clayton|
Paramount Home Entertainment
Howard Da Silva
Kathryn Leigh Scott
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††††There's an elemental danger in trying to translate a literary classic to screen, and every one of those dangers is exhibited in this 1974 presentation of The Great Gatsby. Whilst Robert Redford is dashing and Sam Waterston is suitably ingenuous, this presentation lacks the subtlety and irony of its written source.
†††††Simply told, it's the 1920s and Waterston is the naÔve Nick Carraway, cousin to the flamboyant and indulgent Daisy Buchanan (Mia Farrow). Daisy languors within the privilege of a loveless but fabulously wealthy marriage. She collects intrigues to shore her against ennui and embroils young innocent Nick in her games. Her husband Tom (Bruce Dern) is quite blatantly conducting a town affair with Myrtle (Karen Black) - the wife of grease monkey George (Scott Wilson). Daisy's interest is piqued when Nick confirms that his neighbour is none other than the enigmatic multimillionaire, Jay Gatsby (Redford) - legendary host of the best parties around.
†††††As Nick tags along for the ride, he becomes party to connecting up Daisy and Jay, who we discover were war-time lovers. However, Jay at the time was a poor boy and, as Daisy so succinctly states it "rich girls do not marry poor boys."
†††††The original book by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a bitter and ironic examination of how heavy the tread of the rich can be on the poor, but much of the satire is somehow lost in this cinematic version. It lacks the insight or the humanising of the text, and overall tends to come across as an unengaging and shrill piece, in spite of the best efforts of Francis Ford Coppola as the screen writer. It looks every one of its 31 years.
†††††The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced.
†††††The overall quality of this transfer is rather poor. It suffers from significant low level noise and looks rather "grubby" and flat. Sharpness is not too completely compromised, although compression issues do exist, and there is frequent evidence of edge enhancement. The grain levels are extremely high, making the overall result somewhat murky and ill-defined.
†††††The colours are rather flat and dull, and the plethora of soft focus and cross-field lenses used tended to wash out the colour even more, although that is more a criticism of the original source rather than this particular transfer.
†††††The disc is filled to the gunnels with transfer and film artefacts. Aliasing is not too distracting, but there appears to have been no attempt to clean up the print, with extensive dust spots and scratch marks marring the entire production.
†††††This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change between Chapters 6 and 7 at 66:33. It is a change that presents no particular disruption to the presentation.
†††††The soundtrack is delivered in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and is actually quite good.
††††† The dialogue is very clear, but rather flat and presented very evenly over the front speakers. Subtitles are timely, accurate and very legible. Audio sync is just ever-so-slightly lagging, but not to the extent that it is a major distraction from the action.
†††††The music is rather florid and melodramatic, probably a choice of its times, but lending a rather soap opera feel to the proceedings which it didn't need.
††††† There is surprisingly good surround presence, with plenty of atmospheric sound effects introduced into the soundscape.
††††† Subwoofer activity is very rarely present, although not really necessary in a film of this kind anyway.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††††The menu is static and silent.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
††††† With the exception of an additional French soundtrack on the R1 version, there seems little difference between the 2 presentations.
†††††It's always a big risk trying to portray a classic, and, in its favour, this production won 2 Oscars - one for costume design (justified), and one for musical score (questionable).
|DVD||Singer SGD-001, using S-Video output|
|Display||Teac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Teac 5.1 integrated system|
|Speakers||Teac 5.1 integrated system|