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OPENING ON CHRISTMAS DAY! DiCAPRIO DOES F. SCOTT FITZGERALD AND DiCAPRIO DOES QUENTIN TARANTINO

First, in a 1926 silent film directed by Herbert Brenon, it was matinee idol Warner Baxter who brought Jay Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic self-made millionaire, to cinematic life. Next, in 1949, Alan Ladd took a break from his routine of playing hard-as-nails heroes by bringing us a jarringly sensitive Gatsby under the direction of Elliott Nugent; and then, in 1974, a blond and bland Robert Redford moped his way through British director Jack Clayton’s disappointing stab at making a classic movie of the classic American novel.

Isn’t it time for someone blessed with psychological complexity and genuine charisma to stand up and deliver the definitive interpretation of Fitzgerald’s enigmatic protagonist? Actually, that’s where Leonardo DiCaprio enters the picture. In an exceptionally promising film due to open on Christmas day DiCaprio may very well BE Gatsby, with the help of Baz Luhrmann, the audacious Australian auteur who made Leo BE a serious heartthrob in “Romeo + Juliet.” I think you can expect fireworks this time around.

More good news: Carey Mulligan, the mercurial British star of “An Education” and “Shame,” plays Daisy, the spoiled, filthy-rich, jazz-happy wife of philandering Tom Buchanan. And, as we all know, Jay Gatsby is fixated on picking this Daisy. Also popping up will be the Aussie actor Joel Edgerton in the role of the aggressively American Buchanan, Isla Fisher as his coarse mistress, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, a chum of the Buchanans who is intrigued by the riddle of their new neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Click on http://great-gatsby-movie-trailer.blogspot.com/ for the trailer.

And to make your holiday doubly festive, why not scurry on over to whatever cineplex is celebrating Christmas day by opening “Django Unchained,” the Quentin Tarantino western in which DiCaprio portrays a shockingly abusive plantation owner who violates the lovely slave played by Kerry Washington. Fortunately, her husband--a freed slave acted by Jamie Foxx-- and a kindly German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) are making plans for a daring rescue. So not to worry. And have yourself a very merry Christmas!