Dr. Eckleburg as James Franco


“Dr. Eckleburg as James Franco.” From James Franco as James Franco. Colin Jason Moran. Ruffin Gallery. 2010


This projection exhibit sources F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, The Great Gatsby and the “eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg,” Gatsby‘s iconic symbol of authority and wasteland in the novel. Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, and Sam Waterston star in the film directed by Jack Clayton in 1974, titled The Great Gatsby, a close recreation of the novel.


The Editors

2 Replies to “Dr. Eckleburg as James Franco”

  1. While the eyes of James Franco are at times filled
    with immense emotion (while at others appear to stare into nothingness as if
    high), they do not quite fit the passage in the Great Gatsby where Doctor T.J.
    Eckleburg is described. The passage describes the eyes as “blue and gigantic — their
    retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but instead, from a pair
    of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.”

    Yet, the feeling of
    this piece perhaps portrays the feeling that Fitzgerald searched for, the loss
    of values in America, or the growing commercialism in America. I say this
    because of James Franco’s own recent career choices. While he could be starring
    in movies and making oodles of money (which I am sure he still is and will do),
    he has spent much of his time pursuing less commercial endeavors, such as
    directing films that are less mainstream and more homoerotic.

    For those of you more
    interested in Franco’s nature, the following article, while a couple of years
    old, strengthens my point above: http://nymag.com/movies/profiles/67284/

  2. So here we have the foreboding eyes of Franco meant to capture the same sense of vacancy and despair brought upon the reader by Dr. Eckleburg’s bespectacled baby blues (Thanks Justin for elaborating). Franco’s dark eyes, where we see no distinction between the pupil and the rest in this picture, are washed with blues over and over and varying scarves of dark light while Rhapsody in Blue trickles on in the background.The music is appropriate to the era of Fitzgerald, by a great, innovative American composer, and the piece itself captures a musical meteoric rise with pitfalls and obstacles not unlike those experienced by Gatsby. At the end of this video, Franco’s eyes do not triumph over anything as the ending of the song might suggest some kind of peaceful resolution. They seem to fill with a tearful sheen and resign, the way a set headlights might flood over the billboard of Eckleburg’s spectacles and fade, leaving the viewer with a sense of nothingness or futility.

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