112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Spectacles, Spectacle, and Specters: A Gatsby for the 21st Century

Christine Danelski, California State University, Los Angeles

Baz Luhrman’s version of Fitzgerald’s text, The Great Gatsby, offers a 21st century version which exuberantly glorfies this excess even while decries it.  The specters of class and privilege extant in Fitzgerald’s 1925 text are reinscribed in Luhrman’s film both within the narrative and in its means of production.



The eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleberg overlook a landscape of excess and longing in Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby and in Baz Luhrman’s version of Fitzgerald’s text. The paper will explore the nature of film-making in a globalized market that influences both the means of production and the content of the film as well.  The ghosts that haunt the 2013 version is the reassertion of the income gap between the wealthy elite and the 99% as film production is globalized, demonstrating that traditional Hollywood as been forced to relinquish its hegemony as the geographical center of commercial cinema.  These economic realities regarding production and distribution in the early 21rst century are buttressed by the characterization and themes found in Gatsby in the figures of Gatsby, Carraway, Jordan, the Buchanans and the Wilsons and further expressed in the casting, mise en scene, music, and production design of the film version.  Research for this project will utilize both contemporary literature on the book and the current and previous film versions (1926, 1949, 1974) as a well as any production files for these films available at the Margaret Herrick Library in Los Angeles. 


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