Yesterday, I showed The Great Gatsby to my class of English language students. We had been discussing the successive topics of fame and fortune, and rich and poor, so Luhrman's adaptation of the brilliant F. Scott Fitzgerald novel was appropriate. It was the second time I had seen it, and what struck me was how much more I enjoyed it the second time. Pondering this, I realized that the first time I watched the film was very soon after I finished reading the book. That first viewing of The Great Gatsby was tainted by constant mental comparisons between the film and the book.
Readers know that by and large, films, no matter how good they are, are not as good as the novels or short stories upon which they are based. Why? Imagination. Nothing engages the imagination more effectively than a book.
I am prepared now, following my second viewing of The Great Gatsby to elevate its status from pretty good to great. Have you ever seen a film which was better than the book upon which it was based?