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Great Gatsby, The - Midnight in Manhattan

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Great Gatsby, The: Midnight in Manhattan (DVD)

Produced in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Great Gatsby, this fascinating documentary explores the turbulent life and dark creative spirit of its writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald. It examines his disappointing college days at Princeton, his disastrous marriage to Zelda, his difficult relationship with Hemingway, and his tendency to sell out and compromise his talent for cash, which led to his turbulent last days in Hollywood. It dispels the age-old mythology surrounding Fitzgerald, largely created by himself, which tends to glamorize the Jazz-Age and his alcoholism. Including contributions by the author's granddaughter Eleanor Lanahan, plus writers Hunter S. Thompson, George Plimpton and Jay McInerney, this program presents a fascinating portrait of this most enduring American icon.

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Special Features

* Includes Private Affairs: A Dream of Living documenting Fitzgerald's life in Paris, the relationship with his wife Zelda and friendship with Ernest Hemingway

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 7, 2013
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BQ47XKE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,915 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I knew this might not be a new documentary when the opening scenes showing the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York City skyline still showed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. It's not till late in the 41-minute film that you realize that it was made in 2000, before the 9/11 tragedy. This really has not much effect on enjoying the program (produced by the BBC) except when - again late in the program - there is discussion of the financial "bubble" and when it is (actually "was") going to burst.

Being released to catch the interest in F. Scott Fitzgerald and his "Great American Novel" with the release this month of Baz Lurman's 3-D "Musical" version, the program provides observations on the author from such fellow authors (then living in 2000) as George Plympton, William Styron, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson and Garrison Keillor. We also hear from Fitzgerald's former secretary - who was there when he died in 1939 at age 44. Fitzgerald's granddaughter narrates the program.
To fill in the DVD, BBC has added a TV drama on Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, (with David Hemmings playing the author) titled "A Dream of Living". This 1975 program runs 52 minutes, and was a good choice.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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The title attraction on this DVD is quite disappointing. It is 49 minutes of a variety of literary, luminary talking heads who say, in fact, very little about Fitgerald, his life, his wife, his writing and most particularly the ostensible subject of this documentary, THE GREAT GATSBY. The 75th Anniversary of the publication of this
greatest of 20th century novels surely deserved a much more in-depth and inspired approach than is to be found herein.

The decided delight of this disc is to be found in the little known extra. PRIVATE AFFAIRS: A DREAM OF LIVING is a BBC production from 1975. Late, great David Hemmings plays F. Scott Fitzgerald wonderfully - and looks very much like the writer as well. The drama covers one day and night in the life of Scott and Zelda along with Hemingway and assorted cronies. It is worth the price of purchase and more than makes up for the disappointing main fare.
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THIS WAS REALLY VERY GOOD. I HAVE RECENTLY BEE READING FITZGERALD AND WATCHED ALL 4 MOVIES OF "THE GREAT GATSBY." Also, I have read a lot about what Hemingway had to say about Fitzgerald, who was one of Fitzgerald great admirers. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone that likes that period of time.
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Not what we expected. Documentary was good with pictures and history of F. Scott's life, but special feature Private Affairs, a Dream of Living, was too intense with arguments and troubles between the author and his wife. It does show the wife's decent into insanity, but ends before she is committed.
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This was a good video to play to introduce my 11th graders to Gatsby. They actually enjoyed it! It does have one word of profanity (gd) in case you or your students are bothered by this. Otherwise, totally suitable for this age group.
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This DVD includes the BBC version of bonus material to enrich viewer understanding of "The Great Gatsby" novel, the movie of the same name and the Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald. This material is presented in two main menu choices titled "The Great Gatsby: Midnight In Manhattan" and "Private Affairs: A Dream Of Living." The DVD begins with miscellaneous unrelated material that requires five clicks of the "skip" button to arrive at the main menu. Once there, clicking on the "Midnight In Manhattan" choice leads to material that discusses Fitzgerald's roots in Minnesota, his move to and love for New York City, his ability to make vague descriptions of New York, Manhattan, Long Island, The American Dream and the 1920s Jazz age more condensed and tangible than people in general or other authors could.

A narrator introduces these topics, then turns over the presentation to a series of distinguished, thoughtful and aging writers including George Plimpton, William Styron, Norman Mailer, Hunter Thompson and Garrison Keillor. The first four of these authors tended to identify "The Great Gatsby" as a dark novel emphasizing how The American Dream falsely encourages people to think that if they are good looking, well prepared and persistent, they can do anything, leading to aiming too high, failure and death. Garrison Keillor saw the views of the other authors as reasonable, but did not himself see "The Great Gatsby" as being so dark, but saw it as addressing the idea that when everyone sets their eyes on a distant goal, it is normal to aim high, then row their boats hard against the currents of life and see what happens while realizing that we all know that we eventually must die.
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While it is slightly out of date (being from 2000), my high school students quite enjoyed it. Plus, with a run time of 49 minutes, I could show it in one class period as a nice wrap-up to my Gatsby series. Interesting points of view, good vistas, and nice and short.
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