Monday, August 19, 2013

Nuts over Natalie

Got a great sick gift yesterday.

TCM saluted Natalie Wood on Sunday as part of its "Summer Under The Stars."

My, my. I've had a crush on Natalie Wood since I first saw her in "The Searchers." It isn't just her physical beauty. She has this presence. I can't quite describe it. But I love it.

By the time I realized she was on, the station was screening "Rebel Without A Cause." I had seen the film once -- back in high school -- and didn't much like it. My friend Dean Harned, who is so well versed on classic cinema he teaches a high school class about it, hates it.

 I liked it better this time around. For a '50s film, it's dealing with a lot of issues that weren't talked about at the time. Tortured Sal Mineo, James Dean's issues at home (Jim Backus' character is truly pathetic in the charitable sense), Natalie feels her parents don't care what she thinks. It's the first film (perhaps along with "Blackboard Jungle") to really start looking at teenagers in a realistic, non "Gidget" kind of way.

What I don't like about the film is James Dean. He's got the look, he wears cool clothes, you want to like him, but he just hadn't found his acting chops yet. As you know, he died young and thus remains an enigma.

Next  up was "Splendor in the Grass," a film I really like that also deals with teen angst. Unfortunately the cold medicine I had taken knocked me out halfway through the picture. Oh, well. I'll get it on DVD.

I woke up in time for "Sex and the Single Girl." OK, it's ridiculous, but it's a heck of a lot of fun, especially the final chase scene, something straight out of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." Larry Storch! Lauren Bacall! Henry Fonda driving like a bat out of hell! What's not to love?

I went to bed during "The Great Race," a picture I want to like but don't, I think because I was spoiled by "Mad World." I kept waiting for Jonathan Winters to show up and demolish a filling station.

Was sort of miffed I couldn't stay awake for "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" because (cough) you know, but thank goodness for the DVR.

TV writer/blogger Ken Levine loves Natalie Wood more than I. Here's his post from yesterday. (Thanks for the heads up, Ken!)

 Do some searching while you're there. He writes about her often.

Happy Monday, y'all. Have a good week.

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