Of WWD’s many love affairs with fashion-centric films, none was greater than its obsession with 1974’s “The Great Gatsby.” Coverage initially coincided with another of the paper’s major crushes, Ali MacGraw, who was fresh off her “Love Story” success and in line to play the much sought-after role of Daisy Buchanan. After she got bumped off the project by her husband — and Paramount Pictures chief — Bob Evans, because of her affair with Steve McQueen, WWD went on to chronicle Evans’ search for a new Daisy, with play-by-play reports on the final screen tests. “[Katherine Ross] was the first to arrive,” reported WWD in December 1972, “walking to the studio from the Sherry Netherland Hotel in jeans, T-shirt and brown midi coat….By noon, Candice Bergen arrived on foot, having asked the chauffeured limousine to drop her off a block away.” Whereas an insider billed Ross’ performance as “marvelous…very soft and vulnerable,” Bergen got the blunt critique: “Candy just doesn’t know how to get the tears out,” remarked a crew member. Faye Dunaway fared even worse. The writer noted she “kept her staff hopping, running out for vitamin B tablets, yogurt and Coke” and “reportedly kept fluffing her lines.” (“I guess she has a right to be nervous and demanding,” snarked another source. “She hasn’t made a good picture since ‘Bonnie and Clyde.’ ”) As for Mia Farrow, who ultimately secured the role, her audition was “magical,” even if, as WWD later revealed, “during the testing, [she] fainted and had to be revived and given an injection in order to finish.” And though the paper continued to wax rhapsodic, with features on leading man Robert Redford and costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge, not to mention a full spread on “The Making of Gatsby,” with on-set reporting from Newport, R.I., our film critic certainly wasn’t under the influence. “The movie,” he wrote just before its release, “seems in every way to have missed the mark.” One notable high note: Ralph Lauren’s men’s costumes.

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