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updated: 8/29/2013 3:50 PM

Fitzgerald, Luhrmann a good pairing for 'Gatsby,' now on DVD

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By Jeff Tuckman
Daily Herald Correspondent

"The Great Gatsby" -- For many years, F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel "The Great Gatsby" was a staple of high school literature classes. Director Baz Luhrmann, known for his lavish productions such as "Romeo & Juliet" and "Moulin Rouge," has a winner with his remake of "The Great Gatsby." (Earlier translations were made in 1949 and 1974.)

The story begins as we follow Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who moves from the Midwest to New York City in 1922. It was the place to be. Nick, a would-be-writer, takes it all in.

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He becomes intrigued by his cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan), a wealthy socialite. Nick rents a house on Long Island next to the estate of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).

In time, he befriends Gatsby, who has a crush on his cousin Daisy. Nick loves Gatsby's lavish parties. He becomes intoxicated with the lifestyle.

Daisy lives across the bay with her difficult husband, but she eventually falls for Gatsby's charms. Gatsby has shady dealings going on in a whirlpool of decadence, obsession and mistaken identity.

Luhrmann gives us beautiful parties and costumes with great cinematography and a blend of jazz and hip-hop.

It's an assault on the senses as we follow what happens to these characters during the jazz age. This story is one for the ages.

"Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's" -- This terrific documentary tells the story of the most famous department store in New York City, along with the designers and the celebrities who shop there.

The store opened in 1901, and relocated to Fifth Avenue and 58th Street in 1928. All the designers wanted to get their clothing lines featured. It has been called the "Best Store in the World."

Luxury had no limits there. People come from all over the world to view the store's beautiful windows.

Many designers and celebrities are interviewed, an all speak with reverence about the store. There is also a wonderful segment about 85-year-old personal shopper Betty Halbeich, who has worked there for many years, and has dressed many celebrities (among them the cast of the HBO original comedy/drama series "Sex and the City").

"Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection" -- There is a new promotion on Blu-ray for this great collection. Alfred Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense, but he was also a pioneer in the movement of the camera along with being an innovator in film editing.

His career spanned more than six decades, and he directed more than 50 films. This collection includes five of his most famous classics, along with more than 15 hours of bonus features.

The films are "North By Northwest," "Psycho," "Rear Window," "The Birds" and "Vertigo." All the films have been digitally restored for the finest audio and video.

It is the best that these movies have ever looked or sounded.

"Charlie Chan Collection" -- Fans of the Charlie Chan movies can now get four films on DVD for the first time. They feature Sidney Toler and Roland Winters in "Docks of New Orleans," "Shadows Over Chinatown," "Shanghai Chest" and "The Golden Eye."

Available Next Week -- "Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie," "MGM Sci-Fi Classics and More," "Northern Exposure: The Complete Series," "Now You See Me," "Sherlock Holmes Box Set," "Stories We Tell," and "The Iceman."

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