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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Caught on Tape: Zelda & Scott Fitzgerald

caught on tape

This episode of Caught on Tape is focused on our first couple featured in this series – Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. We will not be looking at movie versions of any of their works, but instead films and such that are about the Fitzgeralds. I have always been interested in their relationship – and their life and times were certainly ripe for a drama! I can’t wait to see how they are portrayed on the screen.

Midnight in Paris (2011)

“Midnight in Paris is an American 2011 romantic comedy fantasy film written and directed by Woody Allen. Taking place in Paris, the film follows Gil Pender, a screenwriter, who is forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship with his materialistic fiancée and their divergent goals, which become increasingly exaggerated as he travels back in time each night at midnight.” (from Wikipedia)

Ok, so the premise of the film sounds ridiculous, and come to think of it, I do not remember seeing it promoted anywhere (and it was only 2 years ago)! And the Fitzgeralds are not the main characters in the film, but they are an important aspect. Owen Wilson’s character, Gil, travels back to the 1920’s in Paris and he encounters, among others, Zelda and Scott who have an impact on his writing. From the small scenes I watched, I’m not sure the acting is that great, but the characters look pretty good. Zelda is played by Allison Pill (noted for her role in HBO’s The Newsroom) and Scott is played by Tom Hiddleston (Loki from Thor). The scene here is when Gil meets Zelda, Scott, and Ernest Hemingway for the first time.

Beloved Infidel (1959)

“Toward the end of his life F. Scott Fitzgerald is writing for Hollywood studios to be able to afford the cost of an asylum for his wife. He is also struggling against alcoholism. Into his life comes the famous gossip columnist.” (from Neflix).

Alright, I don’t really think that Zelda has a physical role in this film – but Scott does – and he is one side of this couple. While Scott and Zelda were married until Scott’s early death – toward the end of his life he was in Hollywood and Zelda was in an institution. Scott found a relationship with Sheila Graham. The film is based on the memoir written by Graham following Scott’s death. Gregory Peck plays Fitzgerald and Deborah Kerr is Sheila. Very typical style for the 1950’s/1960’s films – very dramatic.

Fitzgerald (2002)

AKA: Last Call

“Renowned writer F. Scott Fitzgerald is living the last months of his life with his youthful secretary, confidant, and protégé who later wrote a memoir of their time together” (from IMDB).

This is a Showtime presentation of (again) the later life of F. Scott Fitzgerald – however this time Zelda is in it. Scott is played by Jeremy Irons and Zelda is played by Sissy Spacek. From the preview – I think Zelda is more of an apparition of Scott’s mind – as he hadn’t seen her since he went to Hollywood. I think this was important to show how Scott was going down a mentally unstable path fueled by his alcohol usage. I’m not sure I like Irons and Spacek as these two – of all the actors who have played them I think they look least like the historical figures. Older than I would expect.

If you are interested in other films – those characterizing Zelda and Scott as well as those based on their works – you can check out the Scott and Zelda page. I wish I had been able to find more clips – but these were the best I could locate. There is another one that I wished I had been able to find the clip of, Zelda, a TV movie starring the late Natasha Richardson as Zelda, however, I couldn’t find any clips. Have you seen any of these films? I was impressed by the fact that a man of Peck’s caliber had played Fitzgerald.


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