Time for another Classics Review starring the late Natalie Wood (West Side Story, The Great Race) & Warren Beatty (in his film debut) as two high school sweethearts, until their romance spirals out of control. Elia Kazan (A Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront, East Of Eden) directed one of my mom’s favorite films called “Splendor In The Grass.”
That’s right folks, a special shout out to my mom, as one of her favorite movies.
Splendor In The Grass was released in 1961. It received critical acclaim from critics and made enough revenue at the box office. It went on to earn two Oscar nominations at The 34th Academy Awards for Best Actress (Natalie Wood) & Best Original Screenplay. The latter only took home the grand prize, sadly, Natalie went home with nothing.
Fun Fact: Reese Witherspoon & Bill Paxton both claimed that this is one of their favorite movies of all time.
There’s been speculation involving Netflix’s plans distributing Orson Welles’ unfinished film called, “The Other Side Of The Wind,” featuring Natalie Wood, who participated in Welles’ pet project. As of today, no further news has been confirmed on the release date.
The following review contains potential gigantic SPOILERS. If you’ve never ever ever seen this classic film, read at your very own risk. This is all a matter of opinion focusing on my real thoughts about Splendor In The Grass. Longtime fans of Natalie Wood, I don’t wanna start an Internet War involving my Final Verdict. That includes you Mom! Does it still hold up, let’s find out shall we?
Pros & Cons
Pros: Natalie Wood & Warren Beatty both did an ok job on their respective performances.
Chemistry between Deanie & Bud, is perhaps the main highlight. At first, everything goes swell, but as the movie progresses, all heck breaks loose.
Cinematography was unexpectedly decent without any technical flaws present throughout.
Producers of the film, managed to do a bunch of homework by studying The Prohibition Era as The Main Setting, back when alcohol was declared illegal.
The Ending with Deanie visiting Bud & his family is probably gonna make you cry. I could’ve given this pro an Extra Point, if the film didn’t bore me to death.
The only good part I liked, is when Deanie said the title of the film.
Cons: In the hallway where Bud tells Deenie to come over. He doesn’t say a single word to her, he just simply brushes off in awkward silence. Did Warren suddenly forgot his lines? Filmmaking 101, make sure you film multiple takes with your actors just to make sure they don’t remember their lines.
Upon watching for the first time with my mom, I got easily bored, I nearly fell asleep. When I rewatched it all by myself, nothing has changed, I checked on my phone to see how much long this film is gonna keep me hostage against my will until it ends. What’s more entertaining than a snoozefest? I know, a pack of ants walking back to their anthill! I’d rather play Batman: Arkham City! I’ll have to Double Down Points for nearly making me fall asleep so miserably!
I can’t believe I’m saying this, I laughed at a dramatic scene when Deanie comes out of the tub screaming, “I’M A GOOD LITTLE GIRL!” Natalie’s moment felt unintentionally hilarious. Can you imagine Robert De Niro in Cape Fear laughing?
When Deanie cuts her hair after a “drama bomb” with her mother, I wasn’t utterly shocked on her new hairdo, just a plain normal look. I expected her to shave her head to resemble a buzzcut. I would’ve given her Bonus Points to see Natalie Wood going completely bald, for shock value.
Storyline felt weak without a Three Act Structure nor an interesting conflict to spice things up a bit.
To put salt in the wound, there’s no interesting villain or an epic disaster.
Is it me, or does Pat Hingle’s (Commissioner Gordon from Tim Burton’s Batman) character’s voice reminded me of Nick Nolte smoking ten pack of cigarettes a day? His performance was preposterously funny.
One minor character said, “It was nice to met you folks.” You mean “It was nice to meet you folks?” Screenwriting 101, make sure you double check on the screenplay to spot any word misspelled. Otherwise, you’ll make a fool of yourself. Tell again why this picture “won” Best Original Screenplay a long time ago?
There’s an inconsistent scene with Deanie running in heels. In real life, she would’ve tripped. OH MY GOODNESS! Deanie running in heels, predates Jurassic World’s scene with Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, Claire, running away in heels from a T-Rex!
The Final Verdict: D, DINOSAURS FARTING OUT FLAMES!
In my opinion, Splendor In The Grass is an underwhelming film that doesn’t hold up well for me. Think of it as “The Yodeling Man” from The Price Is Right. At first, he’s doing a good job climbing to the top, just as he’s about to stop, he suddenly falls down. Now you know why I’m comparing Splendor In The Grass to The Yodeling Man from The Price Is Right? If you wanna prevent yourself from getting bored, I strongly recommend La La Land. That’ll keep you invested with catchy musical numbers.
Mom if you’re reading this, I want to apologize for revealing my opinion online. I’m doing this to prep up for fans of the late actress who was once rumored on working with Orson Welles’ unfinished film under the name, “The Other Side Of The Wind.” If you don’t believe me, Google it right now.