A lofty appreciation
Bruce P. Barten | Saint Paul, MN United States | 01/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I expected this DVD to have some choice observations about Saint Paul, Minnesota, where the father of some beautiful rich girl (her name and picture are in this DVD, but it was so long ago) told the young F. Scott Fitzgerald that wealthy people like the Summit Avenue crowd did not expect their daughters to marry anyone who was as poor as F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is funny now, in the `if that really happened, how famous would that be?' kind of way, particularly if it happened to someone who is now as famous as F. Scott Fitzgerald, a great writer who was also smart enough to call Hemingway the real thing. Whatever F. Scott Fitzgerald was doing when he went to Princeton, he was not kept there long. Some great schools might have had much greater dropout rates than we are used to now, as a big law school at that time could be expected to flunk out a third of the entering students.Zelda was from Montgomery, Alabama, where F. Scott Fitzgerald was a young army officer preparing for World War One. People who knew Zelda still remember those days, things they did, a song they sang, that Zelda's father was a judge and called her a hussy when she came home at 2 a.m. while she was still in high school. Waltzing through life was her main interest, but she was wild enough that she would be considered crazy after she became a mother. This DVD has a lot of music and dancing to try to capture the character of those times. Two of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels have been turned into movies, and scenes from "The Great Gatsby" and "The Last Tycoon" are used to illustrate aspects of his life as well as the content of his writing.My favorite time in his life is during a trip to Paris in 1924, when he wrote to his publisher that he had been pondering Gatsby as a character and thought he had found a way to capture him in a book that would be quite elegant. There are literature professors on the DVD who maintain their belief in F. Scott Fitzgerald's genius in spite of the difficulties of his life. It just magnifies whatever humiliation he was sensitive to, and the clips from the movie "The Great Gatsby" of the gas station at the junk yard on Long Island, New York, is so desolate that the question, "Your wife wants to move out West?" sounds like a personal problem that is obviously understandable. Then as now, the big money in entertainment was in Hollywood, and the clip from "The Last Tycoon" shows a writer being humiliated by a studio boss who knows that going to the movies is what everybody else does all the time. The great irony at the end is F. Scott Fitzgerald trying to write about Hollywood as if the people who knew how to make great amounts of money there were just as laughable at as the great rich hierarchies of the Midwest and East Coast. He was not healthy, and I think the DVD wraps up his life with a heart attack at the age of 44 in 1940 that came before Scott was finished with "The Last Tycoon." His attitude was strangely manifested in emitting an anatomy of his own desires, and millions of copies of his books were printed and might still be read before the readers of the world are finished with him."
The Romantic Egoist.
Bernard Chapin | CHICAGO! USA | 01/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just viewed this documentary last night and loved it. I must admit that I have not read Fitzgerald's books for many years but treasured the memories which were recirculated by this film. I read Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" not too long ago and it renewed some of my fascination with this literary master. His writing style is the envy of many and the best thing that can be said about "Winter Dreams" is that it showcases the way in which his life became the material of his stories. It is a pity that he died before realizing the success he would have after 1950, but then, perhaps he would not have had it any other way as the triumphs of his life made him lonelier than his failures."