Sunday, August 18, 2013

Attention fellow Natalie Wood freaks!

TCM is devoting this whole day to a Natalie Wood marathon. There goes my Sunday.

As longtime readers (two weeks) of this blog know, I am obsessed with Natalie Wood. Whenever I can’t find an appropriate photo to go with a post I present pictures of Natalie Wood. And according to recent feedback, you guys seem to like the photos more than the posts themselves.

This infatuation began when I was an impressionable teenager (read: hormones exploding) and I saw a bloated slapstick comedy called THE GREAT RACE at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Ohmygod! This creature came on the screen and I was like that wolf in the Looney Tunes cartoons whose eyes sprung out of his head every time he saw a hot girl.

So I started following Natalie Wood movies. It’s the same principle as ducks and imprinting. Fortunately, she also turned out to be a terrific actress.

I never actually met her, but I did see her once in the MGM commissary when she was filming her last movie, BRAINSTORM. Again, the cartoon wolf.

And then my Nataliemania reached its peak with her untimely and questionable death. Just as some folks are obsessed with the Kennedy assassination, I still want closure… and justice on the Natalie Wood case.

So there you have it. She leaves behind a legacy of wonderful movies. Here’s the TCM schedule for today. And if you’re on Time-Warner cable it’s not like you can watch CBS.  Happy binging fellow Natalie Wood freaks.

9 a.m. WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
11:45 a.m. THE SEARCHERS (1956)
1:45 p.m. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)
3:45 p.m. SPLENDOR IN TH E GRASS (1961)
6 p.m. SEX ANDTHE SINGLE GIRL (1964)
8 p.m. THE GREATRACE (1963)
11 p.m. GYPSY (1962)
1:30 a.m. BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE (1969)
3:30 a.m. INSIDE DAISY CLOVER (1965)

29 comments:

Phil Abrams said...

Didn't I just read there was another look into the circumstances around her death?

Hamid said...

When I was at university in the late 90s, there was a girl called Natalie Wood. True story.

Mike Botula said...

Hmmm! I wonder why "Miracle on 34th Street" isn't on the play list.

J.P. said...

At least you didn't say "Miracle of 34th Street"!

I can't imagine there is anyone who wasn't/isn't a fan of Natalie Wood.

JJ said...

I'm sooooooo glad you read the post on your Facebook page.

J. Prichard said...

Sure, Natalie Wood was beautiful, but I liked her sister, Lana, even more.

Hilary said...

Natalie was a beautiful and amazing child actress, too -- in addition to "Miracle on 34th Street," she was also Mrs. Muir's daughter in the classic "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." In fact, Natalie filmed both movies concurrently on the 20th Century Fox lot. As a young adult, she began wearing a bracelet because of the lasting effect of a wrist injury; she thought wearing the jewelry would deflect looking at the wrist. Don't quite get that, but in any case, she wore a bracelet in every film after... just a bit of trivia. :)

Mitchell Hundred said...

Huh, I didn't know she was in the film version of Gypsy. I guess she gelled really nicely with Sondheim. I should really get around to seeing that (also the moviefied A Little Night Music).

Jake Mabe said...

Thanks for the heads up, Ken. I hadn't yet scrolled through TCM's lineup today.

I've got REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE on now. Natalie Wood is one of the FEW people/things that would make me turn off baseball!

Chet said...

Natalie is very good in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. I truly do not get James Dean. The guy seriously needed to reel it in. I don't know why but Jim Backus always amuses me, even when he's not trying to.

RCP said...

Hilary said...

Natalie...was also Mrs. Muir's daughter in the classic "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."

That's right - I'd forgotten that. That house used to be my fantasy home as a kid - a fog-enshrouded old cottage overlooking the ocean.

Natalie was truly lovely. A former co-worker was (seriously) the spitting image of NW (circa Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice) and I spent pretty much every workday in her presence. To rub salt deeper into the wound, guys - I'm gay, so it didn't make a whit of difference - though we did have some great conversations!

Cap'n Bob said...

I love her, too. I've seen a lot of NW photos, but never any nudes. Do any exist?

Parrish said...

Think I've seen all these at one time or another. THE GREAT RACE I made it through once. Overstuffed and never as funny as it thinks it is. Also, it took Jack Lemmon's over-the-top villain about ten minutes to start getting on my nerves. There's a reason cartoons are only six minutes long. James Dean never clicked for me, either. Way too self-concious. Natalie was a very under-rated actress. Don't remember ever seeing her b in anything she wasn't good in.

Jim said...

The cartoon wolf was a creation of the legendary Tex Avery. However, he made the wolf cartoons after leaving Warner and going to MGM, so they weren't Looney Tunes.

The definitive wolf toon is "Red Hot Riding Hood", and here is the scene to which you refer:

http://youtu.be/-VPbYVvakrk

DBenson said...

"The Great Race" feels like maybe three different movies -- two of them pretty good -- crammed into one showing.

In a later age, they might have made the first film a cross-country race that ended shortly after the barroom brawl ("Give me some fightin' room!"); then a sequel centered in Europe. Lose the cuddling-in-the-snow and the iceberg.

And the inexplicable scene in Russia where an entire city is grimly silent until Natalie stands up and says something (in Russian, I guess), and everybody is suddenly cheering.

What the heck IS she saying? "Pork chops in the commissary today"? "Drinks on Professor Fate"? "We're shipping you all to Paris for the Eiffel Tower scene"?

D. McEwan said...

I love that "bloated slapstick comedy" The Great Race. I'm not disputing that its bloated, it is, but I love it. I probably put on the DVD and watch it at least once a year.

So, Ken, you'll need to pick up the newly-released DVD set The Jack Benny Show: The Lost Episodes. One of the episodes on it, unseen for 50 years, has she and RW as guests as Jack tries directing them in a dramatic scene. Of course the whole set is worth having. How often do you get to see Jack Benny episodes that, if you have seen them, it was 50 years ago, so it's like 18 new episodes.

Lana Wood is a friend of my brother and he's introduced me to her. Charming woman, and still lovely. I did get to meet Natalie once, on the Laugh-In set back in 1969.

@Mitchell Hundred, be prepared. The movie of Gypsy with Natalie (she plays the title role) is pretty bad. Both Sondheim and Laurents hated it, as did Pauline Kael, but Natalie is not what is wrong with it. As for the movie of A Little Night Music, if you've never seen it, keep it that way, especially if you like the stage show. It's abominable. They didn't seem to want to make a musical, because vast amounts of the score are cut. And the ones that survived into the movie are badly sung. come on, Elizabeth Taylor was a fine woman and a fine actress, but she was no singer. It's just lousy on every level. They even move its setting for no reason to Vienna, so all that "The Sun Won't Set" stuff is gone.

Paul Gottlieb said...

OMG! They left out "Love With the Proper Stranger." Both she and Steve McQueen were incredibly appealing in that one.

Cap'n Bob said...

Matalie was of Russian extraction and was very happy to say those lines in Russian in The GreatRace. Or so she said in an interview she did on TV years ago. I don't know what she's saying, either. I guess it isn't, "I'll be Miss October this year in Playboy."

Cap'n Bob said...

So was Natalie.

willieb said...

I confess: I dated a woman for two years at the end of college because she looked like Natalie Wood. Then she broke it off with me and started dating one of my roomates. It felt like a movie script all the way through.

Tod Hunter said...

Not that matters, but the cartoon wolf that overreacts to the pretty girl is a creation of Tex Avery, who toiled at M-G-M, not Warner Bros. and their Looney Tunes.

If anybody wants to follow up, go to M-G-M. Try RED HOT RIDING HOOD, somebody probably put it on YouTube.

--t

Anonymous said...

I loved "Love With the Proper Stranger" with Steve McQueen. Both were great. Had a quirky but undeniable chemistry.

Pam aka Sisterzip

Anonymous said...

The Great Race was Blake Edwards finest achievement. Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini totally deserved an oscar for this song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_w7RGqN7kg

nospintravel said...

go to my Facebook page and you will see me and Natalie dedicated to you.

Matthew Nelson said...

Ken have you seen the documentary "Making the Boys" (Netflix streaming) on Mart Crowley's groundbreaking play "Boys in the Band".

While fascinating for the play's own historical and artistic significance what I found most interesting was it's portrayal of Mort's early years in Hollywood (the first half hour of the doc), including his working as an assistant, and befriending, Natalie Wood. It's a great look at early '60's Hollywood and worth seeing.

Daniel H. said...

Count me as another fan of The Great Race -- bloated it may be, and slapstick, of course (I don't see that as a downside) but there are few movies that provide me with as many laughs.

Jack Lemmon performance as the ever cranky, evil for the sake of evil Professor Fate and the flighty Price Hoepnick, was, to my mind, brilliant.

D. McEwan said...

Thanks, Matthew. I did not know about that documentary and will definitely check it out. I was already aware of the close relationship between Natalie and Crowley.

Roger Owen Green said...

Natalie article alert!

skarab said...

By a great coincidence Mark Evanier wrote a long blog post about seeing "The Great Race" at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.
Maybe you guys were at the same show?
http://www.newsfromme.com/2013/08/21/race-riot/