Natalie Wood

March 04, 2009

by Sarah at Cinema Splendor
Guest Blogger

Why Natalie Wood? Not only was she completely gorgeous, but she was a terrific dramatic actress and had one of the best personalities in the crazy celebrity world.

I first saw her in Rebel Without a Cause. I didn’t like her at all in the beginning; I didn’t like her hair. However, I liked her more and more throughout the rest of the movie, and after it ended I clicked on the IMDB page and read the mini-bio’s on the 3 main stars. I soon learned that she had a huge career and had a fascinating story; she married the same guy twice (Robert Wagner), had this crazy domineering stage mother, starred opposite some of the biggest names in show biz, and had a truly unfortunate death, being taken by something she had feared her whole life.

I went to the library and picked up the bio by Gavin Lambert. I was sucked in, and I guess that’s how my obsession started. I then read Natasha by Suzanne Finstad, which is my preferred book on her. In Natasha, you read about her double life; one as her real self, Natasha Gurdin, and the other as Natalie Wood, the movie star. She had a bone protrusion on her wrist from an accident on The Green Promise, which ended up with her nearly drowning in the water set up for the scene. After the accident, she acquired a lifelong fear of water. She also wore a large bracelet on her left wrist for the rest of her life to hide the protrusion. She called it “the badge” and Natalie Wood was almost never seen without it.

Her performance in Love With the Proper Stranger stays with you. She plays a young woman who gets pregnant after a one night stand, opposite Steve McQueen. The abortion scene is haunting with a boatload of emotion, and the way Steve wants to protect her is one of the most compassionate things I’ve seen in a movie. I could go on and on about how great she was in that movie, but you really need to see her in it to understand what I’m saying. What can I say? She was nominated for an Oscar for this role.

This is my opinion, but I think she was a better dramatic actress than a comedic actress. My favorite dramas of hers are Splendor in the Grass, Love With the Proper Stranger, Inside Daisy Clover and This Property is Condemned. Again, with these movies, she displayed something that you would have to see yourself to understand. West Side Story is also an overall favorite, but I count that in a class by itself ;)


L. said...

i have the book Natasha, but havent finished it yet:(

Millie said...

Oh, this is loverly! Great job, Sarah!

She is absolutely amazing!


P.S. The painting is fantastic, Kate!

Nicole Newcomb said...

I love the painting of Natalie, looks identical of her. I agree about liking her more in the dramatic roles, her performance in LWTPS was heartbreaking and wonderful.

Linda Summerfield said...

Brittany Spears haircutting incident always reminded me of Natalie in Splendor In The Grass.

vivienne strauss said...

She's always been one of my favorites too, Splendor in the Grass & This Property is Condemned would have to be my two favorites. I had read a bio on her but it is has been more than 20 years ago and barely remember it, thank you for the great post!

Genevieve said...

Oh my gosh! I love Natalie in Love With the Proper Stranger! It's pretty much my all time favorite of her movies, but so few people have heard of it : (

Great job on the post Sarah and excellent painting yet again Kate!

Paul D Brazill said...

Nice post and smashing painting. I always thoughtt that Wood was almost always too good for the films she was in.