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The Last Tycoon 1976

PG CC
3.4 out of 5 stars (53) IMDb 6.4/10

F. Scott Fitzgerald's fascinating tale of studio politics in early Hollywood is breathtakingly adapted to the big screen by Elia Kazan and scriptwriter Harold Pinter.

Starring:
Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis
Runtime:
2 hours, 3 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Elia Kazan
Starring Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis
Supporting actors Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence, Ray Milland, Dana Andrews, Ingrid Boulting, Peter Strauss, Theresa Russell, Tige Andrews, Morgan Farley, John Carradine, Jeff Corey, Diane Shalet, Seymour Cassel, Anjelica Huston, Bonnie Bartlett, Sharon Masters
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Friedman on April 20, 2004
Format: DVD
The Last Tycoon is one of the last vestiges of old Hollywood merging with new Hollywood. Adapted from the unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it is an effective tribute to a time when the movie industry was in its infancy. As a fan of the original book I can't decide whether my familiarity with it made me more inclined to like the film or not. I've decided that it did, but I can see where other Fitzgerald fans would think otherwise.
Robert DeNiro stars as Monroe Stahr, a thinly veiled depiction of film pioneer Irving Thalberg, who is burdened by his overwhelming position as a studio production head, by the loss of his movie star wife, and by his weak heart. While DeNiro's portrayal is the centerpiece of the film, there are several other elements involved which lend an extra aura of prestige. Directed by Elia Kazan, the film is technically competent, but, as it is based on a work which its original author left incomplete, the ending is a bit forced and contrived. You can tell that they had to come up with an ending without the resource of the author to make it seamless. To lend additional sparkle, there are appearances by a multitude of stars such as Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Ray Milland, and Theresa Russell who vie for screen time on the periphery of the main plot line involving Stahr's encounter and subsequent infatuation with an extra, played by Ingrid Boulting, who is his dead wife's twin. Mitchum in particular does a nice job as the studio boss, but all of them feel underused. If you're going to put these people in a film, they should have something to sink their teeth into.
Kazan captures the spirit of the time and place well, but the pacing is slow - sometimes interminable - and sometimes confusing.
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Format: DVD
"The Last Tycoon" is a thinly veiled retelling of the life of movie mogul Irving Thalberg. Thalberg made an amazing slew of motion pictures during his short rein as a producer and studio head in the 30's. DeNiro's Monroe Stahr is a mysterious, haunted individual who literally lives only for the movies he's making. It seems his fascinating with the screen makes him unable to communicate with the living all around him.

Writer Harold Pinter's dialog rhythms only enhances the impression that Stahr is in this world but not of it. Ultimately Stahr's intense devotion to appearance dove tails nicely with the themes examined in the book. Pinter fleshes out Fitzgerald's unfinished novel nicely although the film has an unfinished quality as well.

As directed by Hollywood and Broadway veteran Elia Kazan (On The Waterfront, East of Eden, A Streecar Named Desire), The Last Tycoon isn't an easy film to like; many of the characters seem vapid and self serving. In the character of Stahr we have a protagonist who isn't really "there" at all. Which is precisely Kazan and Pinter's point; The Last Tycoon is how image overwhelms substance but can't become a substitute for living.

Kazan's direction brings many of these characters to life providing a unique glimpse into the Hollywood studio system at its prime. Kazan and Pinter provide a fascinating and disquieting glimpse into the American life of the glamorous and powerful of Hollywood during its heyday. It's a sad and tragic tale which Kazan manages to inject with quiet power.

The transfer is very nice although there are a few analog and digital artifacts. The compression artifacts are minimal, however and probably won't be noticeable to most viewers.

There aren't any extras provided.
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Format: DVD
Monroe Stahr is a high-powered Hollywood executive seen as a creative genius by his studio peers. What makes him so different from so many executive screen depictions is that he is not the boisterously expansive "eat on the run" giant one so frequently sees, but is more of an otherwise faceless bureaucrat who says little and acts only when it is necessary.

"The Last Tycoon" was director Elia Kazan's last film. The 1976 drama was adapted from the final work of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's friend John O'Hara and others of the literary cognoscenti believed it would be his enduring work, but alas, before he could complete it he succumbed to a fatal heart attack in his apartment at the Laurel Arms in Hollywood, located next door to the Garden of Allah, the author's favorite Southern California residence, but one that was beyond his means at that point of a problem plagued career.

The difficulty with a work of this kind that ends before the creator had an opportunity to instill a deft finishing touch is that so much is left to the imagination as we abound in a sea of speculation. Celebrated British playwright and screen scenarist Harold Pinter entered the picture and applied his efforts to provide a conclusion. He focuses on the enigmatic and impossible to reach elements of Monroe Stahr, who was drawn in real life by Fitzgerald from his days as an MGM screenwriter, when he knew and observed Irving Thalberg. Like Fitzgerald, Thalberg was a product of New York intellectual circles. Both soared like comet while still in their twenties. They both also died tragically young. Fitzgerald's heart problems brought about his death at 44. Thalberg, never blessed with a strong constitution, succumbed at 37 from pneumonia.
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