DVD Review: ‘Natalie Wood Collection’ Offers Glimpse at Movie Legend

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CHICAGO – When I hear phrases like “screen icon” or “Hollywood legend,” one of the first people that I think of is Natalie Wood. Six of the famous star’s films have been compiled for the “Natalie Wood Collection,” a great starter set for classic movie buffs intrigued by this timeless star or collector’s looking to enhance their catalog.

Gone way too soon, Wood appeared in 56 film and television roles, becoming an internationally recognized star before she was even old enough to drive. Wood first appeared on screen when she was only five and won acclaim when she was only nine for her work in “Miracle on 34th Street”. She would go on to start in irrefutable classics like “Rebel Without a Cause” and “West Side Story”. She was nominated for three Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes, winning three of the latter.

One of Wood’s Oscar nominations was for “Splendor in the Grass,” which is the highlight of the “Natalie Wood Collection” in a gorgeously remastered edition. “Gypsy” has also been remastered for the collection. The other four films, “Inside Daisy Clover,” “Sex and the Single Girl,” “Bombers B-52,” and “Cash McCall” are all making their DVD debut. Also making its debut on DVD this week is Wood’s last film, “Brainstorm” with Christopher Walken, available this week separately from the “Natalie Wood Collection”.

The Natalie Wood Collection was released by Warner Brothers Home Video on February 3rd, 2009.
The Natalie Wood Collection was released by Warner Brothers Home Video on February 3rd, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers

Only “Splendor in the Grass” and “Gypsy” are available separately. The other four films are only available in the “Natalie Wood Collection”. Co-stars in the box include Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Tony Curtis, James Garner, Efram Zimbalist Jr., and more. All should be of interest to classic movie nuts. Synopsis and special feature information follows:

“Splendor in the Grass” (1961)

Directed by Elia Kazan (Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront), and written by William Inge (Come Back Little Sheba, Picnic) Splendor in the Grass stars Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty (in his feature film debut) as teenage lovers full of angst and lust, ripped apart by the repressive small-town mentality of 1920s’ Kansas, with dire consequences. The film won an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay, and Ms. Wood received her second Best Actress nomination.

DVD Special Features: “Beep Prepared” (1961 WB cartoon), Theatrical trailer

“Gypsy” (1962)

Everything’s coming up roses when Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood and Karl Malden entertain you in the lavish movie musical of the Broadway hit about the infamous stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee and her formidable mother Rose. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, Gypsy was nominated for three Oscars®. The musical score by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim is among the most celebrated ever, with such hummable hits as “Let Me Entertain You,” “Everything’s Coming up Roses” and “Together Wherever we Go”

DVD Special Features: “The Pied Piper of Guadalupe” (1961 WB cartoon), “Together Wherever We Go” (deleted musical), “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” (deleted musical), Theatrical trailer

“Sex and the Single Girl” (1964)

Helen Gurley Brown’s famous book title provides the jumping off point for this romantic comedy about tabloid magazine editor Tony Curtis, who’s after dirt when he pretends to woo a young famous sex researcher played by Wood. Needless to say, he gets more than he came looking for. Supporting roles are played by the Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall.

DVD Special Features: Nelly’s Folly (1961 WB cartoon), Theatrical trailer

“Inside Daisy Clover” (1965)

Daisy Clover (Wood) is a 15-year old tomboy who dreams of being a Hollywood star, and in the vein of “be careful what you wish for,” she finds herself becoming the toast of TInseltown in the 1930s. Daisy is thrust headlong into this strange new life with all the pressure and artifice that goes with the territory and must quickly manage or be driven mad. Christopher Plummer is the studio head who gives her her big chance and Robert Redford plays the man with whom she has a one-day marriage. Film buffs will enjoy seeing the various areas and departments of Warner Bros. Studios, where the film was shot.

DVD Special Features: Theatrical trailer

“Bombers B-52” (1957)

U.S. Air Force pilot Jim Herlihy (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) is in love with Lois Brennan (Wood), much to the disapproval of her sergeant father (Karl Malden). There is romance and action in this flight film set against the backdrop of riveting aerial footage of jet plane maneuvers.

DVD Special Features: “Boyhood Dayz” (1957 WB cartoon), Theatrical trailer

“Cash McCall” (1960)

In this drama of high finance and high romance, James Garner (“Maverick,” “The Rockford Files”) plays the title role of a dashing and daring tycoon in the business of buying and selling companies for profit. However McCall’s acquisition plans for Grant Austen’s (Dean Jagger) company gets more complicated when he realizes Austen’s daughter Lory (Wood) is the same girl with whom he once had a summer fling.

DVD Special Features: Theatrical trailer, “High Note” (1961 WB cartoon)

‘The Natalie Wood Collection’ and ‘Brainstorm’ are released by Warner Brothers Home Video. Both were released on February 3rd, 2009.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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