Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Legendary Author

The novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald has led me to explore more about both Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.  By the time Fitzgerald was 40, he was washed up as a writer due to alcoholism, his flashy lifestyle was over.  His “talent for the short story [had] vanished” he wrote to Zelda.  His screenwriting career was at an end.  His final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was a pile of loose pages, incomplete.  His books were all out of print and his novels had never actually sold well.  A 2nd Edition of Gatsby was getting dusty in a warehouse.

The great-grandson of the original Scribner who printed Fitzgerald’s first book wrote, in a foreword to the 1989 edition of a new collection of his short stories, “now, a half century later, more copies of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books are ordered each year than were sold cumulatively throughout his entire lifetime.”  This resurgence means that there is a wealth of information about him online. Many movies made from his stories (30 according to one source) are available free or on Netflix, as well as documentaries about his life and relationships. As a chronicler of the jazz age, his works are rich in that culture and are all somewhat biographical.  He and Zelda were often the basis for the main characters of his stories.

Scott & Zelda

There have been 5 movies made based on The Great Gatsby alone (1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, 2013) and one loosely based on it called “G” in 2002.  The Beautiful and Damned (1922), a silent movie, stars Kenneth Harlan and Marie Prevost but there is no surviving copy.  There is a movie called The Last Time I Saw Paris starring Elizabeth Taylor, Van Johnson and a very young Roger Moore loosely based on Scott’s story, Babylon Revisited (1954) which you can watch in its entirety online.  Tender is the Night (1962), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (1976), The Last Tycoon (1976), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) are all based on his stories.

Biographical videos abound.  F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Last of the Belles is available on YouTube.  A very funny and short enactment of how he came up with the title for The Great Gatsby is called Sh*t Rough Drafts Book Trailer.  A trailer for the play F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton Meet For Tea is hilarious.

A Life in Letters F. Scott Fitzgerald

For a look at the glamour of the jazz age, the roaring twenties, prohibition, check out the A & E biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald: The American Dreamer on YouTube.  A documentary on his life that is based on the extensive cache of letters written during his lifetime and narrated by author Jay McInerney, Sincerely Yours, F. Scott Fitzgerald.  He talks about how Scott and Zelda tried to live up to the life he had created in his novels and interviews their grand-daughter; it shows many original photos and letters and includes readings by Scottie from his letters and novels.

The 2002 film starring Jeremy Irons called Last Call (2003) looks extremely interesting from the trailer online.  There may be some I’ve missed.  There is a blog that I’m now following that devotees of F. Scott may enjoy as well, Fitzgerald Musings at Network Blogs.

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About mysm2000

Having taught elementary school for more than 25 years and been involved in many amazing technology and curriculum projects, I find I've developed a myriad of interests based on literature I've read and music I've heard. I've followed The Wright Three to Chicago, Ansel Adams to Colorado, The Kon Tiki Expedition to Easter Island, Simon & Garfunkel lyrics to New York City, Frank Lloyd Wright to Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, and have only just begun.
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