Analysis of the Great Gatsby Film Scene

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The Great Gatsby: Differences in the Film Adaptation

The Great Gatsby is a widely acclaimed film. It reveals some of the salient themes that form a significant part of human life. The film was an adaptation of a novel by the same name. The novel was written by Scott F. Fitzgerald and initially published in 1925. One of the most iconic scenes in the film were drawn from chapter four of the novel. In the scene, Gatsby and Nick Caraway are ushered into a restaurant which is hidden behind a salon. As a relevant concept in the current analysis, the scene reveals the musical and cinematography differences that were manifested in the visual adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

The Scene and its Adaptation

The scene mainly from chapter 4 involves a meeting between Gatsby and Nick at speakeasy (Fitzgerald 74). Drawn from Chapter 4, the scene shows Nick remain behind to talk to Wolfsheim while Gatsby converses with other individuals in the scene. When I first read the scene in the text, I conjured an image of a quiet and peaceful eatery. I also imagined a location made up of few individuals who were committed to a quiet conversation with each other. I also imagined a spacious setting made up of natural components such as flowers. However, all of my suppositions were negated in the scene within the film.

The Restaurant as a Club

The film adaptation of The Great Gatsby reveals that the restaurant was in essence a club. The quiet ambience that was reflected in the text was replaced with an effusive atmosphere made up of a rowdy and inebriated crowd. Notably, rather than the meals that had been reflected in the textual representation, the setting was mainly made up of individuals who drank alcohol and girls who were mainly committed to the pleasuring of the patrons in the setting.

Music Differences

One of the major differences is manifested in the use of music in the film adaptation. While the application of music in the novel scene was implied (Fitzgerald 76), the same cannot be said of the movie scene. Songs by Jay-Z and other contemporary artists in the setting were aimed at reflecting the party-style that prevailed in restaurants in the 1920s. Music, as a component of the visual re-enactment, provides insight on the nature of the interactions within the setting. In the novel scene, the audience infers a quiet conversation between Gatsby and characters such as Wolfsheim.

Differences in Cinematography

Such an understanding is quickly negated in the movie scene when hip-hop is embraced as the music of choice – which is contrary to the popular jazz option that might have been implied in the text. Hip-hop is more relevant to the current times as it captures a sense of excitement today as would have been captured by Jazz in the 1920s. Music differences and degrees point to different generations. While currently, excitement is defined by music made of loud beats and quick tempo, the allusion to jazz in the film relays the energy of the individuals who present in the setting. Music conveys the differences that exist between a novel and an adaptation.

Differences in Lighting and Cinematography

The cinematography in the movie scene is also different from the expression of the scene in the novel. Lighting in the novel is not described to be as exuberant and bright as is the same in the film manifestation (Fitzgerald 77). Given that the restaurant is projected to have been in a basement cellar, it would be expected that the setting would be less bright. Such contention serves to justify the ambient nature of interactions in the setting. The lighting was also aimed at reflecting the morality of the individuals in Speakeasy. Mainly, their presence in the setting points to a sense of immorality, which is augmented by a sense of fervor.

The lighting is also a culmination of the need to mirror the energy within the setting. The characters in in the restaurant were dancing and joyous – a fact that leads to a correct inference regarding the energy in the setting. Cinematography also describes angles of photography that were applied in the film. While the textual scene reflects mainly on the interaction between Gatsby and other characters, the film scene photography reveals the prominence of other characters in the setting. Photography in the film enhances inclusivity.


Conclusively, analysis of the scene at Speakeasy reveals the musical and cinematography differences that were manifested in the visual adaptation of The Great Gatsby. The music in the textual scene was only implied. However, the film succinctly expresses the loud music that was applied in the setting. The use of hip-hop and music with high tempo in the setting reflects contemporary understanding of restaurants and places of relaxation. Music was also aimed at revealing the energy of the individuals who were interacting in the setting. Differences between the scene in The Great Gatsby text and film scenes is also observed in cinematographic components. Whereas bright light is greatly reinforced in the film scene, light occupies a minor role in the textual analysis of the scene. In the scene, the characters are shown to be in a basement cellar, where the lighting is likely to be dim.

Work Cited

Fitzgerald, Scott. F. The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.

September 25, 2023

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