The Last Tycoon | Chicago Reader

The Last Tycoon

123 minutes 1976

Elia Kazan now admits that he directed this 1976 adaptation, his last Hollywood film, for the money. Unfortunately, it looks it. Not that F. Scott Fitzgerald's overrated fragment about Hollywood in the 30s—which trains its rather indiscriminate hero worship on Monroe Starr, a producer modeled after Irving Thalberg—is a gem to begin with. But given the talented cast—Robert De Niro (especially good as Starr), Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence, Ingrid Boulting, Ray Milland, Dana Andrews, Theresa Russell, John Carradine, and Anjelica Huston—it does seem like a bit of a waste. Harold Pinter's cold and gnomic script seems partly to blame, as well as interfering producer Sam Spiegel; but if you forget that you're supposed to be seeing something meaningful or important, this is pretty watchable.

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