Have you ever wondered what 1920s New York City might have been like with bustling cars, spurring new industries, American moguls, and fashionable day – players partying the night away on the edges of the city — if so The Great Gatsby might be the answer you crave.
Set in the spring of 1922 in New York City and Long Island, The Great Gatsby follows Nick Carraway’s pursuit of the American Dream and his encounter with a mysterious neighbor named Gatsby, whose ambition eventually leads to tragedy.
The Great Gatsby, originally written by author F. Scott Fitzgerald, has received an impressive makeover in this modern film adaptation by production designer and costume designer Catherine Martin, who creates a mesmerizing look into the world of Gatsby, filled with color, pizzazz, and refined taste; illuminating the elusive wonder of men, time, and place. The design recalls to mind other visually stunning and dreamy films like American Beauty, Pleasantville, Moulin Rouge, Big Fish, and Dick Tracy.
The designer uses bold and pastel color palettes, in favor of standard sepia or black and white depictions of the Jazz Age to realize the true vibrancy and energy of the period.
Additionally, The Great Gatsby was filmed entirely in Australia and built from the ground up, 42 sets were designed on location or on nearby sound stages, and each was created with a contrasting unique flair to represent the diverse array of characters in the film.
The main centerpiece of it all–Gatsby’s mansion was envisioned as an “adult Disneyland” castle with all the trimmings. Inspired by numerous sources, including art deco, a Miami hotel, and original New York architecture like the Oheka Castle and Beacon Towers, it’s the grandest undertaking and re-imaging of all the sets created; every room has a life of its own, filled with opulence where no detail is overlooked, from the staircases to the furnishings. Gatsby’s ambitious home is modeled specifically on St. Patrick’s in Australia. While on the contrasting end the Buchanan’s house is based on the Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island.
Although both mansions are quite amazing, Maguire’s character cottage house offers a sweet, quaint, and charming appeal that is irresistible and the New York City apartment briefly shown is bursting with fun patterns.
But it is the spectacular visual effects used to compliment the production design of The Great Gatsby; all of which were designed by Animal Logic, who spent 18 months helping to bring Director Baz Luhrmann’s vision to life, that really raises the bar.
Meanwhile, words can only capture so much and this grand design can only truly be appreciated by the pictures, so I’ll let them do the talking.
Overall The Great Gatsby has a visionary style that is captivating, dream worthy, and a visual masterpiece that enhances every frame and one I hope you take the time to enjoy.
(All Images copyrighted and courtesy of Warner Bros.)