8/10
The Gal Really COULD Act!
26 April 2017
Last night I had the pleasure of watching my third Natalie Wood film of the week, and it was 1965's "Inside Daisy Clover," which I had never seen before. In this one, Natalie lives with her senile mother (Ruth Gordon, in her first picture since the '40s) in a little shack on Angel Beach, California. She sends a recording of herself singing to studio head Raymond Swan (Christopher Plummer...yes, in the same year that he appeared in "The Sound of Music"...quite a year for him), who sees something in her and turns her, practically overnight, into "America's Valentine," and a movie sensation. Daisy soon starts to realize that the Hollywood life has its perils and pitfalls, and eventually marries another popular star, Wade Lewis (the ridiculously, almost angelically handsome Robert Redford), who turns out to be gay, or at least wildly bi. A nervous breakdown of sorts and a run-in with the satanic Swan lead to a suicide attempt for poor Daisy, before she sees the light. Anyway, this film is not as great as I was hoping it would be, but is still pretty darn good. Like 1963's "Love With the Proper Stranger"--another Natalie film, and one that I watched the other day--it was directed by Robert Mulligan, but is not as fine as that earlier film. And it is not as fine, I thought, as the film that Natalie and Redford appeared in the following year, "This Property Is Condemned." Still, as I say, it does have much to offer. The promotional film that introduces Daisy is a wowser, filled with amazing special FX (especially for the mid-'30s), although the song that Daisy sings in it hardly sounds as if it comes from that era; it almost sounds like a 1960s Vegas lounge act kind of number. As would be expected, Natalie and the other performers are all aces. Almost forgot to mention that Roddy McDowall is in here also, playing Swan's unctuous assistant. All in all, great fun, if nothing classic, but so good to see Natalie once again proving the critics wrong. The gal really COULD act!
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