“That’s what happens to girls who go wild and boy crazy.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
He argues that “Kazan has tremendous sympathy for [the] lovers and beautifully conveys their painful sexual frustration and confusion,” and notes that the film “perfectly captures feelings of most who have met former lovers years later and have been disappointed… by [the] person whom you once were obsessed with.”
He writes that “throughout [the] film, Kazan’s direction of actors is superlative,” with Beatty “very controlled and sympathetic in his screen debut,” but the film ultimately belonging to “Wood, who has never been more ravishing, sexy, energetic, or revealing of her own personality.”
In Alternate Oscars, Peary names Wood Best Actress of the Year for her performance here as “Deanie” Loomis. While conceding that “Natalie Wood was an inconsistent actress whose bad performances were deserving of the Harvard Lampoon awards given her,” he asserts that “on those rare occasions when she played characters with problems to which she could relate, she opened up as few actresses could, stripped off all her protective pretenses, revealed herself completely, and turned in portraits that were emotionally shattering.”
Although Wood and Beatty dominate our attention in the lead roles, strong performances are given by other members of the cast as well — including Hingle as Beatty’s overbearing father:
… Christie as Wood’s over-protective, misguided mother:
… Barbara Loden as Beatty’s alcoholic sister:
… and Zohra Lampert — star of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) — as a kind young woman who takes an interest in Beatty when he’s away at college.
Also watch for Sandy Dennis in her film debut as one of Wood’s circle of friends:
… and Phyllis Diller in her film debut as a performer named “Texas Guinan”.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)