Neil Sinyard
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Clayton in America
The Great Gatsby (1974); Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
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Jack Clayton was always a controversial director for so American a subject as The Great Gatsby. He was the preferred choice of Ali McGraw, who at that time was married to the head of Paramount, Robert Evans, and had suggested the idea of a film of Gatsby to him with her in the role of Daisy. The Great Gatsby is about the death of a particularly single-minded innocence and romanticism, the high price to be paid for, as Scott Fitzgerald put it, living too long with a single dream. The nine years between The Great Gatsby and Something Wicked This Way Comes were the most difficult of Clayton's career. Francis Ford Coppola undoubtedly saw Gatsby as a very American tale, one indeed with which he himself could identify, Gatsby possibly being a symbol of his own dreams of money and success.

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