William Inge won the 1962 Oscar for his Best Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for this original 1961 tale about adolescent sweethearts whose lives are shattered when their parents separate them.
Natalie Wood, earning her second Oscar nomination, gives a storming performance as Wilma Dean Loomis, the fragile girl who descends into depression and madness as her relationship with a boy founders and breaks her heart.
The film is set in the Twenties in a puritanical Kansas small town, where Wood’s character is trying to make a new start. Though Inge’s script is such a gem, and Elia Kazan’s direction ensures real quality, there is also plenty of splendor in the acting.
Warren Beatty, aged 24, makes a strong impression in his film debut as Bud Stamper, the handsome young man from the town’s most powerful family, and, among the fine support, Sandy Dennis and Phyllis Diller also make their initial movie appearances. Inge also appears as a clergyman.
Also in the cast are Pat Hingle as Ace Stamper, Audrey Christie as Mrs Loomis, Barbara Loden as Ginny Stamper, Zohra Lampert, Gary Lockwood as Allen ‘Toots’ Tuttle, Fred Stewart as Del Loomis, Joanna Roos as Mrs Stamper and Jan Norris.
Natalie Wood was Oscar nominated as Best Supporting Actress for Rebel Without a Cause (1955), as Best Actress for Splendor in the Grass (1961) and as Best Actress for Love with the Proper Stranger (1963).
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4049
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Gary Lockwood is best remembered from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.