Abstract

F. Scott Fitzgerald identified Allan Dwan's parties as a source for chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby, but who was Dwan and how did he influence Fitzgerald's work? An inventive and prolific director, Allan Dwan (1885–1981) was one of the most successful filmmakers of the silent era, combining the skills of an engineer, an artist, and a businessman. Fitzgerald met him in 1923, during a visit to the set of Dwan's movie The Glimpses of the Moon. That summer, he went to Dwan's parties, mingling with Gloria Swanson and the movie crowd, while Dwan accompanied the Fitzgeralds to the opening night of Fitzgerald's play, The Vegetable. By the end of 1924, however, the two parted ways. The reasons why are unclear. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald drew upon Dwan more frequently for his fiction than any other director, in part as the quintessence of all he found gorgeously wrong with Hollywood, in part as a secret double for himself. Dwan was Lois Moran's close friend at the time Fitzgerald met her, and Dwan left his imprint not only on The Great Gatsby but also on “Jacob's Ladder,” “Magnetism,” “Crazy Sunday,” Tender Is the Night, “Two Old Timers,” and possibly The Love of the Last Tycoon.

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