Filmmakers Fight To Save F. Scott’s Home

In 1920, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald spent a memorable summer in Westport.

It’s taken a lot longer — more than 2 years — for another pair of locals to make a film about the literary-and-fast-living couple.

But the video project began even way before that.

A 1996 New Yorker story by Westport writer Barbara Probst Solomon linked Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby to this town. But the piece was “ignored by Fitzgerald scholars,” says filmmaker Robert Steven Williams. So he and Staples grad/social studies teacher/historian Deej Webb embarked on their own project.

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, in front of what appears to be their Westport home.

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, in front of what appears to be their Westport home.

They interviewed more than a dozen academics. They dug into Fitzgerald’s archives at Princeton, and presented at a Fitzgerald Society Conference in Alabama. They even interviewed one of the writer’s granddaughters in Vermont — a woman who rarely speaks to anyone.

“What we uncovered was not only surprising,” Williams says. “It made us realize that the Westport Fitzgerald home was much more than just about Gatsby.”

So when clips of their film — Boats Against the Current — are shown at the Fairfield Theater Company on Monday (June 8, 7:30 p.m.), viewers will learn about much more than F. Scott, Zelda, the Roaring ’20s and Westport.

Williams and Webb draw attention to the fact that the home the Fitzgeralds rented — on Compo Road South, adjacent to the Longshore entrance — is for sale. And unprotected.

According to Williams, that means that “anyone could buy it, and make it tomorrow’s ‘Teardown of the Day.'”

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald slept -- and partied -- here.

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald slept — and partied — here.

Williams and Webb will discuss — using over an hour’s worth of clips — why “Westport needs to save this home.” They’ll be joined by Professor Walter Raubicheck (a Fitzgerald scholar from Pace University), and Westport Historical Society executive director Sue Gold.

After all, like Gatsby itself, the Fitzgeralds’ home is a classic.

(For ticket information, click here.)


3 responses to “Filmmakers Fight To Save F. Scott’s Home

  1. Jeff Giannone

    I remember hearing a story passed down to my parents in the 50’s about the two of them and some friends leaving the inn (name escapes me) that was on the corner of Lincoln Street and Post Road. As some of you will remember it had an extremely steep driveway. Supposedly when drunk Zelda insisted on driving the convertible home. On this night she inspired all to sit on the top of the seats with headlights out while she coasted (hands free) all the way down to the river’s edge in front of Assumption Church while everyone was screaming at top of lungs. Just bought my tickets for Monday night. Thanks for head’s up Dan!

  2. Sally Palmer

    Tony’s of 57th? 52nd? St, Corner of Post Road & Ludlow Rd. Not sure it was called that in the Fitzgeralds’ era but it was in the 50’s. It was tired by then but had a storied reputation!

  3. Joan McCarthy

    Before it was called Tony’s it was Compo Inn!