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The Perfect Jew… in 3-D!

‘Great Gatsby’ film in the works

Dan Klein
February 28, 2011
(Penguin via Wolf Gang/Flickr)
(Penguin via Wolf Gang/Flickr)

The Great Gatsby (bane of English classes everywhere) written by F. Scott Fitzgerald (possibly the only novelist in history to be posthumously ridiculed by a Nobel Prize winner for being unendowed) is returning to the silver screen. Even better, director Baz Luhrrman (‘Shakespeare in Love’ and ‘Moulin Rouge’) will be filming the classic in 3-D.

Rather then taking this as proof that Hollywood’s 3-D mania has jumped the shark (since that happened months ago anyway) let us consider the triumphant return of Meyer Wolfsheim. If you slept through class, Wolfsheim was Fitzgerald’s grotesque Jewish gangster character (based on Arnold Rothstein). He’s the man behind both Gatsby and the fixing of the 1919 World’s Series, wears teeth for cuff links and pronounces words funny. Edith Wharton was so impressed with the character that she wrote Fitzgerald congratulating him, “It’s enough to make this reader happy to have met your perfect Jew.”

He’s also perfect for 3-D. Imagine just “his small, flatnose which regarded me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril.” Without 3-D it may be impossible to portray a schnoz ‘regarding’ somebody—let alone “a tragic nose” that can “tremble,” “flash[]… indignantly” with “nostrils” capable of “turn[ing] to be in an interested way.”

To be honest, I doubt that any living actor is capable of such nasal dexterity. It may require a stuntman or a second actor (I bet James Franco would do it) to only play the nose. Or—more likely—the nostrils will be plucked, the head shrunk, and the misplaced G’s corrected. Unfortunately for Wharton and purists, the perfect Jew will be perfected… but in the words of Wolfsheim: “You’re very polite, but I belong to another generation.”

Old Jews telling Jokes!