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1926: The lost (silent) film

Only a year after the book's release, Fitzgerald sold the rights for the very first version of the film for $45,000. It was a silent film, based on a popular stage adaptation of the book that had opened on Broadway earlier that year. In this first iteration, Jay, Daisy, and Nick were played by rising stars of the silent era: Warner Baxter, Lois Wilson, and Neil Hamilton.

Film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon has said that this may have been the most "authentic" adaptation, but alas, modern day viewers will never know: all known copies have been destroyed. Although a rare hardcopy of the movie trailer exists, even that is hard to come by. Nevertheless, critics in 1926 gave it mixed reviews, noting that the movie was more popular entertainment than thoughtful art.

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Adam Eaglin is a New York-based writer and editor. He previously worked in The Atlantic's Boston office.

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