Me, Natalie (1969)
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It's chief assets are it's vivid New York atmosphere and it's terrific cast. Patty Duke carries this film as effortlessly as Sandy Dennis or Natalie Wood carried earlier films of a similar nature, and she is surrounded by a terrific supporting cast. Fans of "The Sopranos" will enjoy seeing the late Nancy Marchand, who is superb as a very different type of mother than Livia Soprano. Martin Balsam and Elsa Lanchester are also memorable in brief appearances. James Farentino is effective as the artist Natalie falls in love with, and Al Pacino is charismatic in his first screen role as a cad she meets at a dance. The entire cast works beautifully, and makes a look at this film well worth while.
Al Pacino has a less-than 60-second role in this 1969 "people will love you for the person you are inside" drama starring Patty Duke and Martin Balsam. I always liked Balsam, and he had me giggling after he discourses on the virtues of being homely, then announces his decision to marry a stripper! He's a true male chauvanist pig. LOL
Nancy Marchand is very good as Duke's mother, but the screenplay suffers from a preachy tone that gets to be a real turn-off by the end of the film. A running time of 90 minutes would have been plenty rather than the nearly 107 minutes that it does run.
I love movies shot in New York City, and this film does an ample job of capturing the aura of city life at that time.
Worth seeing for the performances, plus seeing Livia Soprano 30 years younger is a treat...
Inexplicably a box office dud, the same year THE STERILE CUCKOO was a hit., I think the film's horrendous poster sheet was the reason. They obviously wanted to keep Duke's appearance a secret and it back-fired.
Never released on video or DVD as of yet, and hardly ever shown on TV (National General Pictures, anyone?) this funny, perceptive coming-of-age story is probably only available on bootleg.
As Patty Duke grows up and is snubbed by young men and passed over constantly for prettier girls, she develops an attitude that makes her incredibly unlikable. At a dance, she gets insulted by Al Pacino-his first thirty-seconds in a movie!-but then gets asked to dance by someone she finds unattractive. Instead of being happy that someone sought her out after the recent snub, or wanting to give him the same chance to be attractive on the inside as she wants others to give her, she refuses and calls him a loser. The next instant, her inner monologue chides her rude behavior, but she doesn't apologize, and she still said it. In the heat of hurt, she chose to lash out at an innocent bystander; how is this someone to root for?
If you're the type of person who thinks I obviously didn't understand the message of the movie, and you'd behave the way Patty did, you should rent this movie. You'll really like it and will find a partner along the tough road of unfair life. If you agree with my criticism, you won't like the movie.
DLM Warning: If you suffer from vertigo or dizzy spells, like my mom does, this movie might not be your friend. There's a scene where she goes to a party and there are strobelights, and when her drink gets spiked, the camera does some tricks that will make you sick. In other words, "Don't Look, Mom!"