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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby(1949)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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Twenty years after the death of self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby, his friends, Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker, visit his grave and reminisce: In the Prohibition era of 1928, bootlegger Jay pursues his dream and buys a mansion in East Egg, on Long Island Sound. Jay lavishly redecorates the mansion, which was chosen specifically because it provides a view across the channel to the Buchanan mansion in exclusive West Egg. After a couple of weeks, Jay invites his neighbor, Nick, to one of his extravagant parties. Jay hardly knows a soul there, and Nick quickly sees through his pretense of grandeur. Jay admits that he is a self-made man and tells Nick about his rise: After growing up poor along Lake Superior, Jay is befriended by Dan Cody, an elderly, wealthy seaman who is spending his declining years sailing around the world with his young wife Ella. Jay joins the Codys on their travels and becomes sophisticated and worldly, taking to heart Dan's advice that only money counts. Although Jay is like a son to Dan, Dan encourages Jay to seduce Ella, who rebuffs him until the moment Dan dies, when she presses a kiss on him. Jay is disgusted by Ella's cold heart, and when he rejects her, she prevents him from claiming his $25,000 inheritance from Dan. Now, twelve years later, Jay prefers to be surrounded by socialites. Having sketched out his life to Nick, Jay asks him to arrange a private tea with Daisy Buchanan, Nick's cousin. Nick goes to visit Daisy, her husband Tom, and their friend, Jordan, and learns from Jordan that Daisy had promised herself to Jay before he went to war, but after a year and a half, abandoned him to marry wealthy football hero Tom. Although she has a daughter, Daisy is unhappy in her marriage, as she knows that Tom is having an affair with Myrtle Wilson, the loose wife of a gas station owner. Jordan insists that Jay give her his expensive Duesenberg car in exchange for arranging the private meeting with Daisy. Daisy is thrilled to see her first love again, and after Jay proudly gives her a tour of his house, he asks her to leave Tom. Nick, meanwhile, learns from Jay's righthand man, Klipspringer, that Jay was a war hero, and after returning home and being jilted by Daisy, won a $5,000 settlement on his inheritance, and built a bootlegging fortune with his business partner, Myron Lupus. The next night, Daisy convinces Tom to attend one of Jay's parties, but Tom jealously takes her home after seeing her emerge from the library with Jay with an air of intimacy. Daisy is unable to broach the subject of a separation with Tom, and on a stifling hot day, she, Tom, Jordan, Nick and Jay travel into town in their expensive, look-alike automobiles. When Tom stops for gas, Wilson, who values Tom's patronage, asks for a loan so that he can leave the state with Myrtle, whom he no longer trusts. Unknown to Tom, Wilson has locked his wife in their apartment above the garage. Later in a hotel room in town, Daisy insists to Jay that she has never loved Tom. Although Daisy is surprised to learn of Jay's disreputable background, she leaves with him after demanding a separation from Tom. On their return drive, Myrtle runs onto the road thinking that Tom is in the car, and when Daisy swerves to avoid a truck, she hits Myrtle and keeps driving. Myrtle dies, and Wilson suddenly realizes that Tom was her lover and believes that he killed her. Jay takes the hysterical Daisy home and insists that he be allowed to take the blame for the accident, then drives the dented car back to his house. When he returns to the Buchanan home for Daisy, he overhears her discussing the accident with Tom and agreeing to let Jay take the blame so that her life will not be tainted. Nick is revolted by Tom and Daisy's ruthless self-preservation and breaks off their friendship. That night, a deranged Wilson slips into Tom's house intending to shoot him, but leaves without harming him after he denies hitting Myrtle, and suggests that someone else in the neighborhood owns a yellow sedan like his. The next morning, Daisy beseeches Tom to help her find the strength to go the police, and although Tom refuses, he does call Jay to warn him about Wilson. Jay, resting poolside, lets the phone ring unanswered, and tells Nick that his friend Dan was wrong about money. Jay states that he is now ready to accept the blame for the accident as a way of repaying the years of his ill-gotten gains. Just then, Wilson fatally shoots Jay. Only Nick and Jordan attend Jay's burial and, saddened by his hollow life, they decide to return to the Midwest together.