The film This is not the first big-screen adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of love and ambition in the Roaring Twenties, but Baz Luhrmann’s all-star 3D production looks set to bring the story to the attention of a new generation.
On location The action unfolds on Long Island, described by the novel’s narrator Nick Carraway as “that slender riotous island”, during America’s interwar boom period when millionaires vied with each other to build ever more opulent mansions along the North Shore.
Though much of the film was shot on a studio set in Sydney, it’s sure to trigger a wave of interest in the original locations. The author lived for two years in the town of Great Neck (which appears in the book as West Egg) and it is believed he took inspiration for Gatsby’s flamboyant mansion from nearby Oheka Castle. Built by financier Otto Hermann Kahn in 1919, it’s now a hotel and country club and offers a guided tour that gives a fascinating insight into Long Island high society during the Gatsby era.
When it came to recreating the “old money” elegance of Daisy Buchanan’s home across the bay in East Egg (Manhasset), Luhrmann’s creative team took their lead from Old Westbury Gardens, a manor house surrounded by 100 acres of formal English gardens which are open to the public.
If time is short, a two-hour Gatsby-themed boat trip ($25, www.greatgatsbyboattour.org) around Manhasset Bay and Long Island Sound offers views of the waterfront mansions and yacht clubs that were the stomping ground of Fitzgerald and his contemporaries.
Where to stay Oheka Castle Hotel (rooms from $395) and Glen Cove Mansion Hotel (from $199) both deliver when it comes to Gatsby-era grandeur, but for maximum authenticity you’ll need to hire a seaside cottage like Carraway’s. There’s a good selection on www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com, with rates from $2,000 per week for a clapboard cottage with a pool overlooking Long Island Sound (www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p938865).