If you’re a fan of The Twilight Saga, then you’ll want to check out Netflix’s latest offering, Remember Me. Starring Robert Pattinson, the film is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby. While some Twilight fans might be turned off by the film’s apparent departure from the source material, we think that those who give it a chance might be pleasantly surprised.
New York City Is Stunning In All Its Glory
The year is 1925. Prohibition has been passed, allowing for the availability of more alcoholic beverages. It’s the height of the Roaring Twenties, and the city is in the throes of a cultural awakening, as artists and bohemians relocate from small towns to the city, drawn by its abundance of opportunities.
The film opens with a spectacular view of Manhattan, as seen from the roof of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. We then cut to a sultry night in the Big Apple, as Daisy (Wexler), a beautiful young woman in a flapper dress, dances with a man named Nick (Pattinson) at the Villa Steinmetz, a palatial home in the suburbs. Nick is the son of the house and a bit of a rake; he’s charming, but also a bit of a playboy, who has his eye on Daisy’s friend, Gatsby (Brody).
After a few pleasantries, Nick asks Daisy to dance, and the couple are soon joined by a trio of beautiful women, including Myrtle (Shaw), who Nick has also asked to dance. Nick then proposes to Daisy, who happily accepts. As the music continues, Nick glances over at Gatsby and realizes that he has left his drink on the dance floor. Nick promptly retrieves it, and the two men head home, accompanied by the three women. As Nick is driving, he notices a billboard that’s lit up, advertising the upcoming premiere of The Great Gatsby, starring Spencer Tracy and directed by Clarence Brown.
What Is ‘The Great Gatsby’?
The Great Gatsby is the story of Jay Gatsby (Tracy), a man who, in the throes of the roaring Twenties, tries to live a life of luxurious excess. Gatsby is a charmer, albeit a bit of an adventurer, who dreams of providing his family with a better life than he could offer them in his limited means. The book and film are both set in the Roaring Twenties, a time of excess and hedonism, as well as of unprecedented social change. As the story opens, America is mired in the throes of Prohibition, having just gone dry, as alcohol is deemed to be dangerous and unhealthy.
Prohibition Sours For Many
While many Americans were enjoying the benefits of Prohibition, life was not easy for those who had to carry out the law. Bootleggers, who bought, sold, and transported alcohol prior to Prohibition, flourished, as did corrupt police officers who looked the other way while the mob ran amok. These were the people who policed Prohibition, and they did not enjoy the job. It was a thankless and dangerous task, as those who broke the law often found themselves victims of violence and abuse at the hands of brutal law enforcement officials and gangs of thugs. According to some estimates, as many as 20,000 people were killed as a result of Prohibition, with a great many more victims suffering injuries of varying degrees. Some estimates claim that as many as 100,000 people died as a result of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which repealed Prohibition in December of last year, although exact figures are unavailable.
As a result of the lawlessness that accompanied the Roaring Twenties, many criminals, such as Al Capone, founded criminal organizations, known as “gangsters,” to protect themselves from the violence caused by other criminals, or from police corruption. Today, many of these organizations, which were originally formed to protect members from other members of the same organization and from criminals in general, continue to exist, albeit on a smaller scale.
Fascinating Fact About Al Capone
We were first drawn to Al Capone, the infamous “Manhattan whisky king,” because of his interesting biography. Born March 19, 1884, in Brooklyn, New York, Capone began his criminal career as a teenager, stealing cars and booze during the early years of the 20th century. He served time in prison for auto theft and other offenses, and was released in 1908. After his release, Capone founded the “Northside Gang,” whose members would consist of his closest friends and allies, all of whom shared his passion for drinking. Capone dominated the Brooklyn nightclubs in the early 20th century, before moving on to other parts of New York, and then the country, where he became a major player in organized crime, founding his own city within a city, known as “Summerlin,” outside of Houston, Texas. He eventually settled in Florida, where he lived the rest of his life, dying in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, on January 25, 1947. He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Florida.
“A Life Of Excess”
The story of The Great Gatsby is filled with colorful characters, intriguing plots, and glorious parties, as well as some of the most stunning scenery in existence. The novel’s renowned opening lines are, “It was the summer of 1925, and the weather was beautiful,” setting the mood for a life of excess and adventure that Jay Gatsby, the novel’s eponymous main character, embarks on. Gatsby is driven by the passions of the Roaring Twenties, which he seems to embody.
“The summer!” exclaims an amused Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a well-bred playwright who’s traveled the world and now lives in New York, noting Gatsby’s apparent infatuation with the warmer months. Nick’s amused reaction to Gatsby’s infatuation is shared by many, and it’s not hard to see why. The summer months, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, are some of the most beautiful and pleasant times of the year. The light at sunrise and sunset is magical, and the air is fresh, as there’s usually less humidity, making it easier to breath. It’s a time of promise and optimism, as people are generally happier, more content, and live more carefree lives. The world seems inclined to agree with Nick’s opinion.
An Outstanding Cameo From Leonardo DiCaprio
The most interesting and exciting part of The Great Gatsby is the numerous cameos from Hollywood stars. The world-famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio, for example, plays an important part in the story, as his character, Nick Carraway, meets Jay Gatsby and invites him to his luxurious apartment, where the two men negotiate Gatsby’s purchase of some of Carraway’s possessions, a scene that seesaws between funny and tense.
Another fascinating fact about The Great Gatsby is that its release was almost canceled, as distributor United Artists felt that the public might not accept a dark movie, especially as audiences had just witnessed the tragic events of September 11, 2001. What UA officials didn’t understand was that the public had gotten used to tragedies occurring in the news, and were looking for ways to escape from reality. Film historian Peter Schoenfeld notes that The Great Gatsby is unusual among classic novels in that it was made into a film before the Great Depression devastated the United States, sending audiences to the movie theaters for distraction. The film still managed to be a critical and commercial success, however, paving the way for more mature and stylish films.
A Magnificent Party
One of the greatest pleasures of reading The Great Gatsby is getting lost in the pages, transported to another world, with all the lights, sounds, and drama of a glorious party. It wouldn’t be surprising if a reader got the feeling that they were attending some of the most magnificent, extravagant parties ever held. The Roaring Twenties are filled with memorable parties, filled with stunning people, plenty of liquor, and sometimes, even music. If you’ve never been to a real, physical 1920s party, then you have to try it. Luckily for you, we’ve recreated some of the most spectacular events from the novel, and we invite you to join us, to remember the days of roaring happiness that came before the clouds of doom.