The Ending of James Dean

You can thank this arthouse film for uniting Swift and Antonoff on ‘Midnights’ (1963). It has the distinction for me of having been the film that prompted one of my favourite jokes about a’movie…

The Ending of James Dean

You can thank this arthouse film for uniting Swift and Antonoff on ‘Midnights’ (1963). It has the distinction for me of having been the film that prompted one of my favourite jokes about a’movie writer’ doing a screenwriting course. The two men who played the lead roles in the film were James Dean and George Arliss. (See ‘The Great Gatsby.’)

A. H. Weiler wrote, ‘James Dean in one of his most inspired and poetic performances.’ (The Critic, June 1963, p. 15.) Antonoff’s own review (in the same magazine issue) went on to quote Antonoff’s favourite line from the film: ‘I was tired of being in love with my brother’s wife.’ (p. 16.)

This was the first of two films that Antonoff co-wrote (1963). The other was The Red Badge of Courage with director and co-writer Richard Sale (1964).

Antonoff says, ‘I got an offer to write for The New York Times, but I thought it was too much – and I couldn’t really think of anything to say.’ (Interview, ‘Banned From Film,’ BBC World Service.) He says, ‘I would like to have written it, but I don’t think so’ (T. J. Clark, ‘Who Had the Hardest Heart?’, The New Yorker, February 6, 1964, p. 64.)

He also admits that he hasn’t read the book; and I’m happy to report that he has not read that either.

The original ending has a happy ending – a reunion of the people involved – and it makes sense now. But a lot of people, Antonoff among them, didn’t see it that way.

### **The Great Gatsby**

### (written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in the Atlantic Monthly)

#### Fitzgerald, F. Scott

##### 1917–97

In one of the many reviews of his first novel, Fitzgerald described it as: ‘The most interesting book written in America [since William Faulkner’s] is a book that will not be read. It will be read by those who want to read it for the first time.’ _The Great Gatsby_ is Fitzgerald’s most ambitious, best-loved novel

Leave a Comment