The last tycoon


” Emotionally, at least, people can’t live by taking each other’s washing.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerlad

” The love of the last Tycoon ”

The  weather forecast was snow and the swiss always deliver what they promise, at least weather wise, so it was a good night to escape to the local film house that has respect for old Hollywood and were just finishing a month dedicated to the genius of Jack Nicholson, and i have seen most of his work..and here he was giving most of the stage to the very young Robert De Niro,and isn’t it wonderful to retrace the steps of who seems to light up every film like a fire cracker, in a different way than the Jack Nicholson southern drawl even though he is actually native to New Jersey , he has this very soft way of charming  passive aggressiveness that makes him the fox to Robert De  Niro’s wolf like energy, the Italian wolf who can play anyone and make that character stand out as unique, a man with a mind of his own, whatever he decides to director can spoil his acting and Elia Kazan tried very hard, this is not known as the better films he had directed by an Elia Kazan at his worst is still better than any mediocre director at his best ..


The last tycoon is a film based on a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald ,  “The love of the last tycoon” screenplay written by Harold Pinter ,directed by Elia Kazan  in 1976. 

The last unfinished novel F. Scott Fitzgerald had written was coincidently also the last film Elia Kazan had directed. 

The star studded cast included the very young dashing Robert De Niro playing a producer , based on real life producer Irving Thalberg, Tony Curtis , Robert Michum, Jack Nicholson and the legendary French  Jeanne Moreau play in what i would call a mediocre plot however it is those little undercurrents, the intensity of Robert De Niro who is able to convey so much with one dark deep look even then, as a producer who is grieving a lost love when one night he magically sees a young woman who reminds him of his lost love, he manages to track her down, and then is drawn to her refusal of his pursuit of her, sadly a very typical romantic trap, there are dramatic romantic moments with the beautiful fairly anonymous actress who is interesting enough  in real life a former dancer, model and now a yoga teacher in California . 

The 1930’s , a big studio, the struggle of the writers union against the producer, the business of making movies as a business..the cool composed producer melting by the fire of a beautiful butterfly who rejects him, she is to be married to another man, and when given the opportunity the hero fails to act to turn the events around towards a commitment, he is unable to act and thus must accept the fate of a broken heart as his beautiful butterfly flies away, Robert De Niro can not fail to play a character living on different levels; cool and composed outside, broken on the inside.

At one point we are thrust to contemporary life as Jack Nicholson plays ping pong with Robert De niro , and they introduce themselves; Jack Nicholson is a brazen Southerner, and Robert De Niro plays a jew from NYC, “BUT WE ARE ALL AMERICANS” , they say..but are they?The theme of fear of communism comes up as well as the influence of Jews in Hollywood. Tony Curtis, Elia Kazan , Harold Pinter, all contributed to this film, but will this be seen as a contribution or a threat? The book is written by an Irish American, so this is indeed the melting pot Trump insists on denying..

Here are some quotes from the novel F. Scott Fitzgerald never completed ;

” Writers aren’t people exactly or if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” 

“It’s like actors , who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors who lean backward trying only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliors.”

“You seem to take things too personally , hating people and worshipping them, always thinking people are so important, especially ourselves. You  just ask to be kicked around. I like people and i like to blunder  but i wear my heart where God put it-on the inside.”

“He was born sleepless, without a talent for rest or the desire for it.”

and one final  beautiful poetic quote

Pinter’s clever plot twists met Fitzgerald’s poetic melancholic larger than life dramas.

“How different it was all from what you’d planned.”



About seagullsea

a seagull flying over the great ocean of life observing.
This entry was posted in a letter to the stars, film as life lessons, film critique, intercultural relations, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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