Inside Daisy Clover (1965) Poster

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A brilliantly made damning indictment of the inherent insincerity of Hollywood
GusF14 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Gavin Lambert who adapted it for the screen, this is a brilliantly made damning indictment of the inherent insincerity of Hollywood. The film takes place in the Golden Age from 1936 to 1938 at the height of the studio system but many of its criticisms of Tinseltown were readily applicable to the 1960s and some even apply to 2016. It has a first rate script which does not pull any punches and the direction of Robert Mulligan, whose forte was sensitive period dramas, is wonderful.

The film stars Natalie Wood in an utterly fantastic performance as Daisy Clover, a 15-year-old tomboy and livewire who lives in a dilapidated trailer on Angel Beach in California with her highly eccentric mother. Like many teenage girls in the 1930s, she dreams of making it big in Hollywood. When she sends a recording of her voice to the highly prestigious Swan Studios, her dreams come true and she is signed by the movie mogul Raymond Swan. However, she soon learns that fame is not all that it is cracked up to be as Swan and his wife Melora manipulate her at every turn in order to protect her burgeoning career and reputation. Most notably, they have her mother Lucile, otherwise known as the Dealer and played in a great performance by Ruth Gordon, committed to a mental institution after she nearly burns down her trailer and put out the cover story that she is dead.

The Dealer may not exactly be June Cleaver but Daisy adores her mother and she is rightly extremely angry and upset when Swan tells her that she cannot see her anymore, though he eventually relents. Her death is the catalyst for Daisy's nervous breakdown later in the film but there were certainly other contributory factors. There are traces of many Hollywood starlets in Daisy. Her nickname of "America's Little Valentine" is reminiscent of Mary Pickford's "America's Sweetheart." In that she is much used and abused particularly by men, however, the similarities to the recently deceased Marilyn Monroe are the most pronounced. At 27, Wood was too old to play a 15-year-old but the strength of her performance is so strong that I forgot about the large age gap between actress and character after the first ten minutes. Of course, she first found success as a child star in the 1940s but I hope that her rise to stardom was less painful than Daisy's. She should have received a Best Actress nomination for the role.

Although he is a little over the top in a few instances, Robert Redford, in one of his first major roles, is nevertheless very good as Daisy's fellow Swan Studios star Wade Lewis. A swashbuckling action hero in the mould of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn, he is the apple of every teenage girl's eye and women wish that their husbands were exactly like him. Wade is such an interesting character as he really represents the stark difference between reality and Hollywood-style illusion. He wines and dines Daisy and uses the considerable charm at his disposal to get her to marry him. However, only after he leaves her in a dirty little Arizona motel does she learn the truth: he's gay and their marriage was one of convenience to hide that fact. This was likely inspired by Rock Hudson's marriage to Phyllis Gates in 1955, not least because Gates did not know that he was gay when they got married. Although it was unknown to the general public in the 1960s, his homosexuality was an open secret in Hollywood.

There is some suggestion in the film that Wade may be bisexual but I do not believe that this is the case. He is an actor and he was merely playing the role that other people would have him play when he pretended to be attracted to Daisy. I get the feeling that we never get to see the real Wade as his sexuality means that he can never let his guard down as his career would be finished overnight. Unsurprisingly for the time, none of the words that I have used were used in the film but it is notable for depicting a gay man who was comfortable with his sexuality. He hides it for professional rather than personal reasons. When he first meets Daisy, he tells her that his real name is actually Lewis Wade as opposed to Wade Lewis and that is the only thing that the studio changed about him, which can be seen in retrospect as a defiant reference to his sexuality. In spite of his callous behaviour, I certainly do not think that Wade is a bad man but merely one is extremely self-centred.

Although Redford has the most interesting role of any man in the film, the male lead is the great Christopher Plummer in an excellent performance as Raymond Swan. He presents himself as a warm, caring man to the outside world but this is merely a veneer. Swan is a ruthless Hollywood mogul who cares nothing for Daisy as a person, only as a money maker for his studio. He is verbally and physically abusive to her after she has her breakdown as his continued convalescence is costing him a great deal of money since she still has to finish her last film. He then tells her that he does not care what happens to her so long as she fulfills the terms of her contract. The only other actors to particularly stand out are Katharine Bard as Melora, who seems to be a very collected woman for most of the film until we find out that she attempted suicide when she found out that Wade was gay, and Roddy McDowall as Swan's assistant Walter Baines.

Overall, this is an excellent film which very effectively excoriates the falsity and artificiality of the Dream Factory.
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8/10
The Gal Really COULD Act!
ferbs5426 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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Dearheart vs The Prince of Darkness
roobozart10 December 2003
It's always amazed me that this movie doesn't get more respect--sure it's campy, but the performances are fantastic: Christopher Plummer's speech to Daisy by the pool after she's been abandoned by her new husband (a super young Robert Redford playing a gorgeous pansexual for God's sake--what more could a person ask?) is stunning and Natalie Wood's "The Circus is a wacky world"-induced breakdown in the sound booth is brilliant and scary. Roddy McDowell's killing smile as he says "Good night, Miss Clover." Redford getting away with lines like "Good night, sweet, sad, lonely lady" and a drunken Malora (great name) screaming at Daisy "They say I've got a headache, BUT I'VE GOT A HEARTACHE!!!" The gorgeous black and white promotional video of Daisy singing and bouncing her way through the cardboard galaxies. All incredible stuff--why isn't this on DVD yet? Wake up, Hollywood, and give us this treasure on DVD!
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10/10
Confined and Boxed In
cosmicly3 November 2005
Every time I watch this movie, I am more and more impressed with the range of ability that Natalie Wood exhibits. Terrific job on her part. As for the story itself, what really strikes me about "Inside Daisy Clover" is the countless times that she is alone, confined and boxed in. The entire time that Daisy is trying to break loose and make a noise in the world, she continuously finds herself practically jailed. The little booth where she makes her first records, the tiny shop where she sells star photos, the claustrophobic cabin she shares with "The Dealer," the sound room where she dubs "The Circus Is A Wacky World"--all of these create a sense of suffocation. With Daisy constantly placed in these pressure cookers, you just have to believe that sooner or later she is going to explode!
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9/10
A brilliant display of Natalie Wood's talent
jeremy319 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a great film. It is an almost satirical and comic look at "stardom" in Hollywood during the 1930s. Wood (in her mid to late 20s at the time) plays a teenager living in poverty in L.A. She has a great voice, and is discovered. The next thing you know she is the second coming of Judy Garland. She is exploited and used in every way. Christopher Plummer plays the tyrannical studio boss who bullies and intimidates her to make the most profit possible out of her stardom. Hia character is so brutally cynical and calculating.

Robert Redford plays a Prima Donna actor who has no sincerity and no conscience. In an infamous scene, he leaves his wife (Wood) stranded at a motel in the middle of the desert. He is a charmer, but he is someone who has no conscience or sense of decency. He is all about his perceived stardom, which is probably on the wane at the time.

I especially like Wood's role. She was able to show such depth and extremes of emotions. If her voice wasn't dubbed, she had a great voice, too. The best highlight of her talent is when she starts going insane over her fame. This role made me realize what a great actress she was.

I also liked the subtle humor in the movie. It was obviously satirizing the inaneness of Hollywood. The musical songs were so brilliantly silly and simple minded. It reminded me of the songs in the movie Nashville. I liked many other scenes where it was obvious that the creators of this film were having a good time poking fun of Hollywood.
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8/10
Better then I remembered. Plummer and Cast excellent
marbleann23 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I haven't seen this movie in years. So I got it streamed through Netfix. I want say I remember it was not suppose to be a good movie when it came out. I saw it with my parents and all I could remember is the songs and Natalie Wood.

On second viewing I find this film was very underrated. Natalie Wood actually pulls off being a 15 year old. I think because she is only 4"9' and is very petite. She announces to her mother, Ruth Gordon, she can sing and she goes for a audition and they like her. Ruth GOrdon is at her eccentric best. But it is sad what happens when Daisy's near to do well sister takes things in her own hands. Since Daisy is a minor.

Christopher Plummer is excellent as the merciless studio head. When Daisy has a emotional breakdown, Plummer makes no qualms about her position with him, even though she had been carry on a affair with him. He asks the doctor if she can go to work and if she cannot go to work make her certifiable so I can get the money from insurance. He goes on to tell he she is there to make him money, not the opposite and promptly fires her nurse.. It was a great scene. It is a a more really about making movies more then about Daisy Clover, and the stars She is just the device they use. Robert Redford is some Errol FLynn type and sweeps the 16 year old Daisy off her feet. One would have to be blind not to see a train wreck coming. But he tells her things he knows she wants to hear and he even pays attention to her grandmother. All I have to say when she marries him , look up what happened to Jean Harlow on her wedding night to Paul Bern. Not quite as deadly but... you get the idea. I think Daisy is a variety of characters but mostly Judy Garland with a little Deanna Durbin, evident by the end and how Miss Durbin left Hollywood at a very young age.

All in all I liked the movie. Wood is great and she looks like she is having a great time. Plummer should of gotten a Oscar for his role or at least nominated. Ruth Gordon was good but her roles diminishes greatly after Daisy became famous. And Redford is great playing the louse. Gee they still haven't figured out how to get rid of those bumps on his cheek. lol. .
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6/10
Curiously sinister and overwrought expose looks great but isn't particularly satisfying...
moonspinner5516 October 2005
Brassy, singing tomboy near Hollywood in the 1930s gets a screen test and is soon thrust into the crazy spotlight of Tinsel Town. Ham-handed soaper intends to paint show business as cool, decadent and uncaring, but director Robert Mulligan is unable to set an appropriate tone, and his bad guys are enigmatic shadies who conspire in whispers. This combined with Natalie Wood's raucous rendering of a 15-year-old results in some problems. Still, the look and atmosphere of the film are really extraordinary, and Christopher Plummer gives off sparks of neurotic heat as the head of the movie studio. Robert Redford is a good screen match for Natalie, although his love-interest role is steeped in the hypothetical; Wood herself runs hot and cold, though she has some very strong early moments. The pacing might've stood some picking up, and the movie is much too long, but it looks stylish and has a lot of talent behind it. **1/2 from ****
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8/10
A wharf rat becomes a Hollywood star!
JohnHowardReid19 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
NOTES: Ruth Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, losing to Shelley Winters in "A Patch of Blue". The film was also nominated for Best Sets (in color) and Best Costumes (in color), losing both to "Doctor Zhivago".

COMMENT: Gavin Lambert's satire of Hollywood in the thirties, is well acted and conscientiously directed (Robert Mulligan). I'm not overfond of Lambert's obsession with insanity (cf. also "The Slide Area"), but in its exposé moments, the film is very entertaining. Andre Previn's score is atmospherically effective and Charles Lang's photography (unlike his poor quality work on "How To Steal a Million") is up to standard.

Running times: 128 minutes (USA), 107 minutes (UK), 131 minutes (Australia).
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8/10
A strange, but great film
ga-bsi31 March 2009
A decidedly odd film that is wonderfully script and filmed, with lovely performances from Natalie Wood, Robert Redford and Christopher Plummer (of course). Upon first viewing this film I thought it to be rather strange because it is very unlike most movies I have seen. It tells the story of the tomboyish Daisy Clover in such a truthful and sometimes upsetting manner that you have to adjust to it. It is also very unsettling and rather thrilling to see Christopher Plummer as a sort of villain or The Prince of Darkness as Robert Redford's character calls him. His manic wife is also brilliant, especially in the scene where she gives her drunken confession to Daisy about her affair with Robert Redford. But of course this film would not be half of what it is without the great and adventurous acting skills of Natalie Wood, who was able to be a convincing fifteen year old when she was in her late twenties. The end of the film is perfect, and shows that Daisy Clover is truly a free spirit. I highly recommend this film to all of those who loved Natalie Wood and such films as Bare Foot Contessa.
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8/10
One of the best films I hadn't seen until now ... a gem.
SkyPowers19 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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7/10
the good with the bad
sweetpea329 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
After discovering that Natalie Wood was 27 when she made this film, it was somewhat difficult to believe she was only 15. But ignoring her age and concentrating on her acting helped. At times she is campy, but other times she is absolutely stunning. The movie has beautiful scenery and a good story line, but it is quite random in some spots. Though it leaves a lot to be desired as far as credibility is concerned, the acting is outstanding. Natalie does as best as can be expected as an adult playing a teenager. I keep picturing her as Susan in "Miracle on 34th Street." A very young Robert Redford is a treat. He plays handsome homosexual actor Wade Lewis and you cannot help but fall in love with him just as Natalie's character Daisy Clover does. Roddy MacDowell's role gets quite annoying after awhile but it is still funny. And Christopher Plummer is absolutely incredible as movie producer Raymond Swan. He is simultaneously creepy and fascinating. I could not take my eyes off of him for a moment. There are four good scenes in the movie. 1.) Daisy and Wade meeting for the first time in the white bedroom with the waterfall. 2.) Melora's drunken outrage over Wade's abandoning Daisy. 3.) Raymond's poolside lecture to Daisy. 4.) Raymond's love/hate lecture when he visits Daisy at her beach house. This movie is worth watching for its ability to keep your attention even though it is slow and overdramatic. The ending keeps you guessing as to what happens to Daisy afterwards.
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The Hollywood industry against itself!
mvk001614 March 2000
Inside Daisy Clover is not just any movie about a wanna-be-star that has her dream come true and in the process witnesses the changes and corruption that bring her to the top. It is a movie about the movie industry itself. Actually it is the BEST movie that Hollywood has ever made about itself. Natalie Wood stars as the 15-year-old child star and manages to pull it through. She is a lot older and we all know, but there are times when just a look or a smile of hers can be nothing but as close to childhood as an adult actress could ever get. On the other hand we have Robert Redford, the young careless and unsteady lover that lifts everyone he meets to the sky and then dumps them to the ground leaving in his passage something more than pain: the realization that what is inevitable will happen and we all know it from the beginning. Somehow we wish it were different but it isn't and the end offers the only solution that could close such a movie without destroying its unique feeling. Redford's role is undoubtedly the greatest of his career. He is so young, strong and handsome that no one can resist him. And yet, there is a lot more hidden beneath his nice facade than anyone could ever think possible. Somehow he is a tortured character that finds content in hurting others but still he does it in such a way that you can't but admire him. Even the most fanatic feminist can try to persuade me he isn't the most charming - and at the same time cryptic - character even written for the big screen but the truth remains the same: like Michael Caine in Alfie we'd love to hate him but we can't! I must say the end is not exactly as dark as I would have expected it given the fact that we all know Daisy's path goes only downhill from the moment she meets Wade (Redford) but the queer thing (and what makes it a little unbelievable and lame) is that she manages to survive in such a random way that even the viewer wouldn't want her to. But that's the beauty of it all!
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8/10
An interesting look at the Hollywood studio system
mgmstar1288 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed the movie, even though it has its flaws.

One of the problems is that Daisy is really not a sympathetic character. Yes, you feel very sorry for her when Christopher Plummer's character informs her that she is no longer allowed to visit her mother in the asylum. However, she never seems to be grateful for her fame and monetary success. Instead she runs off with Redford's character when she is supposed to sing with a children's choir. She is being groomed for movie stardom the same way Judy Garland, Deanna Durbin, Kathryn Grayson, Jane Powell, and countless other singing and non singing performers were as well. The viewer doesn't really feel sorry for her since she almost seems to create much of her unhappiness. It is true that teenagers don't always think maturely, but back then with her poverty and fatherless life, one would think Daisy might be more grateful with her chance for success.

Natalie's own voice was not good enough to be used for the songs (except for the brief introduction of "You're Gonna Hear From Me"), and it's evident when you listen to the FSM Silver Age Classics double CD recording of the film. I like Jackie Ward very much as a singer, but I don't think she sounded much like Natalie Wood. Carole Richards sang for Cyd Charisse in Brigadoon and Silk Stockings, and she sounded like Cyd. Rita Hayworth's vocal dubber Nan Wynn also sounded like her. If the film contained a more believable sound, I might have been more convinced that Daisy was more realistic. For fun, go to You Tube and look up the videos of lostvocals3. He presents the songs with Natalie's recorded tracks.

I have never been a huge Natalie Wood fan. I enjoy her work, and I have seen several of her films. I do think she turned in a good performance, even though she never looked fifteen years old. They could have made the character a bit older but then you would lose out on the parts where they commit her mom due to her being a minor and also Redford's marriage proposal isn't as necessary. However, she does turn in a solid portrayal.

I wish Redford's character could have been shown dallying with a handsome hunk, but it was 1965 after all. I enjoyed his performance, but I would have liked to have learned more about his character and his career. Was his career ever in danger due to his drinking and sexual partners? Was he protected as long as his box office stayed strong? I also wish I could have seen some real reaction from Daisy when he reappears long after he leaves her in Arizona. How can he just come back with flowers after dumping her? Well, it's the character all right. He is self absorbed and lacks responsibility.

Christopher Plummer's character is ruthless. After kissing Daisy and getting involved with a minor (after he chastises Redford's character on the same behavior), he later says he doesn't care what she does or what happens to after she completes the movie she is in the middle of shooting. That's it. Finish the picture and he can get a new girl to take her place. It's true. When Garland left MGM in 1950, there was Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, and Kathryn Grayson to fill in. I enjoyed Plummer's chilling performance.

I too wish Roddy McDowall had more to do, but he was fine with his limited screen time. I liked Ruth Gordon and Kathryn Bard was strong too.

I agree with the many reviewers and their comments on the hairstyles and clothing not being really from the 1930s. However, I still think the film does a good job at showing the studio system at that time.
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4/10
Quirky view of Hollywood
eyecandyforu29 June 2010
This film seems way ahead of it's time, made in 1965 it's one of the first to show a darker side of Tinsel Town. Natalie Wood plays a tomboy who's plucked from obscurity and becomes a teen singing star. Her character is almost immediately jaded by the experience, manipulated by a studio head and a dubious male heartthrob, played by a stunning looking Robert Redford. Ruth Gordon once again stands out as the teen stars' mother. Christopher Plummer is excellent as the smooth studio head with Roddy McDowall as his cold assistant. Katharine Bard plays Plummers' wife, and her character is fascinating. She seems to float and flow when she moves and her character sums up the film's overall feel. Distant, detached and alien yet seething with anger and disappointment.

The problem with the film is that it's very dark in tone. That is to say the slick big budget production is overshadowed by a strange menace, highlighting the fact that the studio system was basically a people factory, uncaring and cannibalistic. Audiences at the time must have been very confused, expecting a light, breezy musical. Instead it's a realistic yet stylized downer, reminiscent of Valley of the Dolls, which was yet to come. There's very little genuine romance, sentiment or humor, just a steady flow of odd scenes.

This is one of those movies that many have never heard of, it remains obscure despite it's almost epic appeal. It's certainly worth a look, but just try to nail it down to any specific category.
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5/10
A disappointment.
hrd19632 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Depression-era, rags-to-riches story with Natalie Wood as the tomboy-heroine abandoned by her father and living with her eccentric mother in a run-down shack by the seashore. Discovered by a film producer (the darkly sinister Christopher Plummer), Daisy quickly achieves stardom as a musical singing star (a la Judy Garland) but, unable to cope with the sudden fame, she escapes into a romance with matinée idol Robert Redford. Later realizing that Redford is gay and that her studio sees her only as a commodity, a disillusioned Daisy has a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide before finally finding the strength to turn her back on Hollywood. On the face of it, this film (based on a novel by Gavin Lambert) sounds compelling but too many cartoonish situations and characters (particularly Daisy's mother and sister) undermine the story. Natalie Wood, herself, is allowed to overdo the tomboyish nature of Daisy's personality (she's like a female Huck Finn). Christopher Plummer and Robert Redford are both very good, however, and, in supporting roles, Roddy McDowall and Katherine Bard lurk mysteriously in the background (Bard seems to belong in a different film entirely. When she confronts Daisy following Daisy's failed marriage to the matinée idol, it's like Jane Eyre coming face to face with Rodchester's mad wife). A disappointment.
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Painful is growing up!!!!
dataconflossmoor7 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Daisy Clover is 50 years old when she is 16...This means she has the worries, the stress, and the broken promises of misguided relationships and fraudulent compassion, even before her braces come off... Pressure is a key ingredient to her hassled existence, as well as being lead down the garden path by numerous societal retro bates...This sordid lifestyle makes Daisy a victim of life, and an innocent who can rely on nothing but talent and capitulation...Hollywood is a natural playground for debauchery and ambiguous reactions, Daisy's situation is no exception to the rule!! Her one day marriage is a stilted précis which boggles her precocious emotions...Such a devastating debacle would emotionally disrupt a genuine adult and not just somebody masquerading as one. Neon homosexuality (As displayed by Robert Redford) in the thirties, is a new concept to all Americans .. Hollywood is accustomed to it somewhat, however, this is Daisy's entry into adulthood, which is tantamount to learning how to be a pilot when you are behind the cockpit of a Stealth bomber!!....In a nutshell, Hollywood is a morally impervious society which has thrown Daisy one curve of adversity after the next!! This knifing realization is so overdone that Daisy interprets all of this like it is an amuzing little doggerel, and now it is time to buy another comic book!! This movie is a compelling character portrayal by Natalie Wood, and she effectively illustrates how personal neglect can bring a dressed up teenager to the virtual breaking point!! Daisy's nervous breakdown is what unveils the revelation that she is merely a Hollywood commodity, and as "replaceable as piston rods"... If she suffers from clinical depression permanently, it will simply justify the insurance premiums.. Daisy is slightly oblivious to the fact that she is being reduced to chattel!!! At the end of the movie, Daisy wants to commit suicide, but realizes she doesn't have the time... I was in Kindergarten when this movie was made.. In a callous life lesson sense, so was Daisy!!!
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8/10
Inside Daisy Clover Examines Just That ***1/2
edwagreen29 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A remarkable film where Natalie Wood gives her everything to the title part. This is definitely a story of frustration and that success cannot buy everything.

Ruth Gordon, her mother in the film, received a best supporting actress nomination. Shame is that after several excellent opening scenes, Gordon is not heard from again until the near end of the film. (She lost the coveted Oscar to Shelley Winters for "A Patch of Blue.")

Christopher Plummer is a standout as the hard driving, nasty producer Swan who uses Wood so as to make more money for the studio. He has no personal regard whatsoever. There are two scenes where his swagger is similar to his role of Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music," which was made in the same year as this film.

The curious part here is played by Robert Redford. He is also a star who has a problem with drinking. He weds Wood only to leave her for homosexual pursuits. This comes from out of the blue and is delicately left alone. Was this a takeoff on Rock Hudson?

Katherine Bard is effective as Plummer's long-suffering wife.

Wood's voice steadily improves as the film progresses.
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The Image Maker
Lechuguilla12 July 2009
Almost everything about this film ... from the casting and acting, to the plot, to the musical numbers, to the costumes and hairstyles ... seems fake.

Natalie Wood, 27 years old, plays 15-year old Daisy Clover, a spunky tomboy/brat/beach bum extraordinaire. Daisy, who lives with her eccentric elderly mom, played by Ruth Gordon, in a shabby wooden trailer near the beach in Southern California, has Hollywood stars in her eyes. And when Raymond Swan (Christopher Plummer), head of The Swan Studio comes calling, Daisy jumps at the chance to be a movie star.

She leaves her mom and lets Swan remake her into America's ideal of a teenage girl. In effect, Swan Studio is Daisy's image maker. Even though surrounded by cold-blooded snakes in the movie business, Daisy is such a brat that she doesn't elicit much sympathy from me. But then I found little interest in any of the characters.

With the exception of Daisy's mom, the characters lack depth of emotion. Maybe that's the point ... Hollywood is filled with emotionally empty people. They're all image, no substance.

Set in the 1930s, the film has visuals that look straight out of the 1960s, especially relative to hairstyles and costumes. The musical numbers, though well executed, trend toward upbeat, bubble gum optimism, which is inconsistent with the film's overall thematic cynicism. I know what they're driving at with these musical numbers. But the abrupt tonal shift is jarring.

Perhaps the worst element of this film is Natalie Wood's performance. She seriously overacts. It's a performance not unlike that of Patty Duke, in "Valley Of The Dolls" (1967).

"Inside Daisy Clover" is filmed in color. It would have been more realistic had it been filmed in 1930s B&W. And the cinematography projects an annoying wide screen image.

The only thing I liked about this film is the presence of the always interesting, and unique, Ruth Gordon. Otherwise, this film is forgettable.
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10/10
Delightfully dark & cynical
stevedtx24 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I've always been attracted to cynical films (such as Billy Wilder's "Ace in the Hole" for example) because life doesn't always have happy Hollywood endings. This one oozes cynicism. It has that rare combination of darkness, humor and camp (like "Sunset Blvd." and "The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T" ).

The acting is good all around, if sometimes over the top. Roddy McDowell's hilariously underplayed supporting role as Swan's secretary helps offset the overplaying by others, particularly Daisy's sister Gloria. The sexual ambiguity of the film's characters is a clear jab at the carefree decadence of Hollywood in the 20's and 30's.

The modern-day Busby-Berkley-styled "You're Gonna Hear From Me" sequence is anachronistic, but it's highly entertaining. The tune is one of the best created by Dory & Andre Previn, and you won't be able to get it out of your head for awhile. Mulligan's use of absolute silence in the studio when Daisy breaks down in the isolation booth is brilliantly disturbing, an unforgettable scene.

By the way, the first few times I saw this film on TV years ago, the reference to the Redford character's homosexuality had been cut out. Hmm. Also, my first impression was that the story had been very loosely based on the early career of Judy Garland, but I guess Daisy could have been a composite of all young actors in the 30's who were just considered a commodity, property of the studio, to be exploited or thrown away as they saw fit.

"Daisy Clover" is not a film for every taste for sure, but it's a great cult classic and a pleasure for cynical film lovers like me.
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2/10
Even worse than I remember back when I saw it in the theatre in the 60s
HeathCliff-228 February 2009
I would speculate that this is one of the worst major studio motion pictures ever made, starring and directed by A-list talent. I was a teenager when this came out in the theatre, and even then, I distinctly remember - because I was a Natalie Wood fan -- that I hated this movie. I expected forty years later that I would embrace it more deeply, partially for nostalgia, partially for being more forgiving of its foibles. Well ... it's even worse than I remember – a lurid, melodramatic potboiler where not a scene, or piece of dialogue, rings true. Natalie Wood acts like a silent film star, mugging atrociously, and playing tomboy like a truck driver in army boots. I am reminded of the numerous Razzie worst actress awards she got from Harvard back then. Someone on IMDb assumed that 60s audiences accepted this -- but it was a critical bomb back then. The story is beyond far-fetched as she dreams of being a singer, she sends in a recorded disc of her voice -- and the studio head himself pays her a personal call at her pier-side shack because he's so excited about her talent – and when we watch her screentest – her singing is mediocre. She's immediately signed to a contract, but never shows a shred of pleasure or excitement that she has gotten her wish, but only seems to want to escape. The costumes and hair are maddeningly anachronistic – teased hair, pink lipstick, eyeliner, shaggy bangs, turtlenecks, Capri pants, empire waist dresses, narrow suit lapels, pure 60s. Her musical number belongs more on Hullabaloo than a 1930s movie screen. Scenes on the 1930s studio lot, and on the soundstage, are always as deserted as a tomb, and the studio head – who is so evil he should be twirling his moustache like a silent film villain -- seems to have no other duties or interests than meeting incessantly with, and watching over, Daisy. Worth renting only for curiosity value -- or Wood fans who need to round out their viewing repertoire. The one positive is Robert Redford – not the most interesting of actors but more animated than in some of his later roles, and gorgeously handsome beyond belief.
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3/10
A could have been
ryancm24 February 2009
INSIDE DAISY CLOVER is a could have been good movie. Good plot and story line, but the execution doesn't work. Part of the Natalie Wood collection, CLOVER is about a young slum type girl who wants to be a singer. She submits a record and before you can blink, a studio head wants to test her. Now that only happens in the "movies". Natalie Wood is much to old for the role, but she has many good scenes. Not one character in this movie is sane except for the Roddy McDowell character, but he has so little to do that one wonders what he's doing in the film at all. The movie is very slow paced, yet there seems to be chunks deleted which make the story hard to follow. The ending is very lame. Another strange factor to this strange movie is that the studio scenes are eerie. This is supposed to be the 30's when film making was at its peak, yet there is virtually no one at the studio. The streets and lots are barren of people and even the sound stage which should be full of hustle, bustle is void of people except for a couple of camera men. Also, as studio head, Chris Plummer is always around which is unreal in that he has other stars and VIP's to contend with. Even the studio offices are devoid of people. Very strange indeed. The film depicts the Daisy character of wanting to sing and be in movies, but when she gets the chance she does nothing but sulk and seem unhappy at her success!! Extraordinary. It's been noted that Natalie herself said that she wasn't right for the role and that Tuesday Weld should have played Daisy. Amen.
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8/10
Another Underrated Goodie!
aceellaway201023 December 2015
Amazes me how this movie receives so little attention. It is far more complex than many similar Hollywood themed films. Some great actors.. Natalie Wood, Christopher Plummer, Robert Redford, Roddy MacDowell and the always extraordinary Ruth Gordon( quite heart rending here). Bearing in mind when it was made and who it was made by. It is a great story, obviously based on Judy Garland, but with a richness that is absorbing and never ceases to be entertaining. Natalie was about 27-28 at the time but she looks great and if you didn't know she was 28 , she does not look that much older than the part she is playing of a street wise old before her time kid. ( Someone in another review says she thought she was miscast and it should have been played by Tuesday Weld, and the reviewer endorses this opinion- well, much as I admire ms weld's talents, it is hard to imagine her as Daisy and harder still to see her improving upon Natalie's performance). I would recommend this movie to any film fan, and while not perfect (how many films truly are?) is much better than it's reputation allows.
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6/10
Lonely At The Top.
rmax30482328 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Natalie Wood is fifteen year old Daisy Clover, a feisty kid who lives in a shack with her dotty mother, Ruth Gordon, in 1936 Los Angeles. She comes to the attention of Christopher Plummer, owner of Swan Studios, who smooths the rough edges off her cygnet image, dresses her as Alice in Wonderland, and puts her in "major motion pictures" as "America's New Valentine." It's what Wood has always wanted -- fame, money enough to lift her mother out of poverty, and, mostly, self actualization. It's all expressed in the theme song we hear her sing -- "You're Gonna Hear From Me." An ambitious movie, it has some sizzling moments but they're constantly undercut by some incredibly unimaginative elements. Let me get them out of the way first.

That theme song. "You're Gonna Hear From Me." It's not badly constructed, it's appropriate to the story of Wood's rise to fame, her thumos, as the Greeks would have called it. But it's one hundred percent generic. It belongs in the same category as "Tomorrow" and "I've Gotta Be Me" and "The Impossible Dream." Worse, the orchestration, by Albert Woodbury, is thoroughly modern in its instrumentation and harmonies. I presume the motives were commercial. "You're Gonna Buy This Record." You get to hear it in all its prodigiousness three times.

And the narrative itself is rather like a soap opera. Wood is betrayed at every turn. The charming, extremely handsome, poetry-quoting Robert Redford first seduces her, then is forced by circumstances to marry her, then deserts her -- REALLY "deserts" her, leaving her alone, without transportation, in a shabby motel in the middle of Arizona -- for a male lover.

She turns to Plummer, studio owner, who offers her understanding and comfort -- then he begins schtupping her too.

Tragedy upon tragedy. Her beloved mother dies. Wood goes into a mute depression, delaying the picture she's making, until Plummer's patience runs out and he begins slapping her face while she mourns. By this time, the viewer aches more intensely than Wood herself for her luck to turn.

We don't get to see much movie making, only one scene of Wood doing a musical number about a circus, and it there is a complete absence of any sense of realism. According to the movie, the complicated scene involves singing and dancing and it's all shot in one take. In the middle of it, Wood walks up to a mirror and looks into it, and the director, Robert Mulligan, commits the stupidest move any director can be guilty of. Wood peers into the mirror but instead of looking at her own face, as she should, she's gazing obliquely into the glass and looks directly at the camera lens behind her. Isn't there SOMEBODY who's job it is to see that the audience isn't hit over the head with such a clumsy device that can only serve to undercut the suspension of disbelief? I mean, when is the last time you saw your face in a mirror by looking at the reflection from an angle of 45 degrees?

But there is some good stuff too. First, Natalie Wood gives what is probably her finest performance. She was never a Great Actress, but she shows more skill here than in anything else she's done, probably with help from Mulligan. She is into her cynical and determined character, but she's vulnerable too. She's no cutie pie here. And watch her face as Plummer introduces her to her audience and accompanies her down a long staircase. Half a dozen emotions -- happiness, satisfaction, fear -- all flit across her features second by second, colors across a frenzied chameleon. A marvelous scene.

And, here and there, Mulligan challenges the conventions of the genre, of films in general. Wood's breakdown during a looping session is well done. And there is a long scene in which Plummer explains Redford's treacherous character to a devastated Wood. She's been awake all night and is lying on a lounge next to the pool. Plummer's performance is a tour de force. And Mulligan shoots him from behind Wood's reclining figure. Her head is propped on her hand. She never utters a word. And not ONCE does Mulligan cut to a reaction shot. Through the entire scene we see nothing but her tousled hair. It take self confidence to do something like that, and it takes guts.

The skill and the buffoonery just about cancel each other out and what we're left with is a formulaic story of someone's rise to the top, the disillusionment that follows, and a couple of magnificent performances and well-stage and edited scenes.
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3/10
Outside Daisy Clover
brefane23 March 2007
Though not without interest, this 1965 film based on Gavin Lambert's adaptation of his novel, is a disjointed mess that never finds the right tone. It's notably lacking in energy and depth, and it's too funereal to even succeed as camp. It's part musical and part Hollywood Gothic. Natalie Wood plays Daisy Clover whose manufactured rise to fame is chronicled beginning on her 15th birthday. At 26, Wood plays the tough talking tomboy for what its worth, but the streetwise Daisy seems to lose her spunk and ambition the minute she enters Swan Studios. Except for Christopher Plummer and Robert Redford, the supporting cast is forgettable, and the only performance of interest besides Wood's is Ruth Gordon's as her mother. Gordon was Oscar-nominated, but gave a funnier performance the following year in Lord Love a Duck. The musical sequences, choreographed by Herbert Ross, are the highlight of the film along with a promotional film for Daisy, and an showy scene of Daisy breaking down in a recording booth. The film lacks a clear conflict, has no momentum, and feels longer than 128 minutes. In addition, the sense of period isn't convincingly rendered, and the ending is as uncertain as the rest of the film. Gavin Lambert wrote a biography of Natalie Wood in which he says the film was originally some 20 minutes longer, a musical number was cut, and Daisy's narration was heard throughout the film not just at the beginning and end as in the released film. Director Richard Mulligan worked with Wood previously in Love with the Proper Stranger (63). The scenes set at Angel Beach were shot on the famous Santa Monica Pier.
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7/10
Unclassifiable, odd film
kwindrum1 February 2014
This movie often seems surrealistic, sometimes comic, sometimes despairing and it has musical numbers which come from another dimension entirely--they are a mix of Busby Berkeley and 1960s design. The film seems like an eccentric comedy at first with 15 year-old tomboy Daisy (Natalie Wood) and her wacky mother (Ruth Gordon) both competing over who can chew scenery faster. Suddenly, she's plucked by sinister studio head Christopher Plummer and turned into a star. The studios of the time were certainly often sinister, but I found the dispatch of Ma Clover to the mental institution a bit of a stretch. The film has other implausible moments plus a tone of anachronism as the songs, by Andre and Dory Previn, are 1960s Broadway in style. Many scenes of loneliness and isolation--a strangely deserted Santa Monica pier,an empty desert motel, a studio that always seems empty, even the sound stages seem empty. You rarely see the bustle you expect in a film set at a studio or in Hollywood. This is an odd, fascinating, 1/2 successful film.
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