This trailer for the first film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby promises a “marvelous picture.” Unfortunately, modern audiences will never get a chance to judge that for themselves. All copies of the original Gatsby movie, released four years after Fitzgerald’s seminal novel, have reportedly been lost to the sands of time — perhaps because they were recorded on extremely flammable nitrate film, perhaps because contemporary viewers just didn’t think the flick was very good. (The New York Times believed it “obvious that [the movie] would have benefited by more imaginative direction.”) Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald themselves allegedly walked out on the film, later calling it “ROTTEN and awful and terrible.”)
No matter: The trailer itself is definitely worth watching, if only for Daisy’s (or is it Myrtle’s?) heavy breathing and its dramatic use of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg’s ever-watchful eyes. It’s just too bad we don’t get any shots of Gatsby’s leading lady downing absinthe — as the Times‘s reviewer noted, in the film, “She takes enough of this beverage to render the average person unconscious. Yet she appears only mildly intoxicated, and soon recovers.” That’s our girl.