8/10
One of the best films I hadn't seen until now ... a gem.
19 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is exactly the type of film that could never be made today. The artistic freedom on display here is breathtaking and achingly nostalgic. No Hollywood cookie-cutter, it crosses genres faster than multiplex ticket-crasher going from beatnik to "A Star is Born' to "Sunset Blvd." to "All That Jazz" to "I Could Go on Singing" -- and somehow it works! Natalie Wood plays teenager Daisy Clover who sends a 45 vinyl record (it's the '30s) to Swan Studios and soon becomes America's "Little Miss Valentine." And she pulls it off, even though we saw her at the same age 10 years earlier in "Rebel Without a Cause." For aspiring writers and directors -- and for working ones -- I challenge you to find a film where the absence of dialogue is used with more effectiveness, in this case, underrated Natalie Wood saying nothing as her world whirls aorund her with dizzying speed, romanced by Wade Lewis (Robert Redford), mentored by Raymond Swan (Christopher Plummer), befriended by Mrs. Swan (Katherine Bard in a transcendent performance). These were the days when the paparazzi were literally owned by the studios. FYI Angel Beach is Santa Monica beach and you'll recognize the pier and the most filmed merry-go-round in history. I was fascinated how, in 1965, so many taboo subjects got through the ratings board. Worth it just to see one of the greatest screen marriage proposals ever.
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