Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kazan, DeNiro, dared "The Last Tycoon"

I am afraid this is going to be a nerdy post.

As many of you know, I am a big F. Scott Fitzgerald fan, and have read and researched his works and life for several years. However, this summer, it has all turned a bit obsessive. Maybe it was Alison Pill's surprisingly good performance as Zelda Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris (seriously, Woody should take a risk and do a "spin-off biopic" with Alison and someone dreamy as Scott), or perhaps I became too involved reading Zelda by Nancy Mitford back-to-back with Tender is the Night. Either way, my interest has reached a peak, and I want anything I can get.

Even my NetFlix queue. Honestly, I dislike every film I have seen based on Scott's works. For example, I thought the Elizabeth Taylor/Van Johnson film, The Last Time I Saw Paris missed the point of the original story, "Babylon Revisited." I also did not like the recent The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett for pretty much the same reasons.The script seemed so intent on beefing up Scott's original story, that the whole experience felt tedious and overdone. At least, that is my opinion. I know a lot of critics and and viewers felt differently.

I have not even seen the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby, and the footage I have seen from Tender is the Night looks equally disappointing. Time to give up, right?

But ... I recently saw this scene from the film version of Scott's final novel, The Last Tycoon. I am surprised to admit it looks good. Really good. The Last Tycoon always seemed sad, and easily avoidable to me since Scott passed away in the middle of writing it. However, with Elia Kazan directing, and Robert DeNiro playing scenes like this ... I do not think I will avoid it much longer.

The film also stars many other actors I respect: Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Donald Pleasence, Dana Andrews, Jeanne Moreau, and Jack Nicholson. Basically, I want to see this. Immediately.


BaronessVonVintage said...

Oh, when you DO see The Last Tycoon, let us know how it is!!

Shybiker said...

Please let us know what you think. This is one film I've avoided 'cause I was unsure I'd like it.

Artman2112 said...

i saw this about 15 years ago and at the time i didnt think much of it. it does have a great cast and some very good scenes but to me it goes nowhere and takes forever to get there O_o DeNiro is of course awesome and a great reason to see it tho. You will be coming at it from a totally different place than i did so your opinion of it will be interesting i'm sure. i recall something i read about deniro, when he was making Taxi Driver someone from Last Tycoon came by with some wardobe items for him to try on and the person relating this story said they watched in wonder as Deniro seemed to totally change not just his clothes but himself into this other character while doing the wardobe testing.

Francy Flicks said...

Wow, cool story Artman! I would love to see DeNiro work on a set and become his characters!

Thanks for commenting, everyone! Unfortunately, this one is not available on NetFlix right now. Grrr ... Hopefully it will be soon.

cuteredbow said...

Really nice blog ! Great to discover it !

She is Sara said...

I never read the piece, but when I saw "The curious case" I was a bit taken aback since the film was so damn long and the book was really small. I knew something was up!

I actually have this on my movie list. I am hoping to be able to catch up on some of these when I graduate. Your posts always make me want to put on fancy pajamas, snuggle up and watch movies :)

Artman2112 said...

around the time i saw the Last Tycoon is when i was first getting into DeNiro. i still think there is no one who can equal him from his generation. just a few weeks ago i read a great book of conversations between film critic Richard Schickel and Martin Scorsese and so i really got into Scorsese mode and watched all of his collaborations with DeNiro except Cape Fear (I'll get to it tho!) and his work in those films still boggles the mind, such depth of characterization!!
you being a big Brando fan have you ever seen "The Score"? if not def take a look, i'm sure you'll enjoy seeing Brando and DeNiro (and the awesome Edward Norton as well) together! i find it very well made and enjoyable as a film too but that cast cinches the deal ;)