The Natalie Wood Collection

The Natalie Wood Collection
As one of the very few examples of a child star who successfully managed to make the transition to leading lady as an adult with her talent and dignity intact, Natalie Wood continues to be one of the more memorable and significant stars of the silver screen, despite the tragic brevity of her life. Fans of the decidedly quirky and energetic performer would do well to check out The Natalie Wood Collection, as it features six of her most memorable films presented in widescreen with remastered editions and classic short cartoons. Perhaps the weakest of the collection, Bombers B-52 is also the oldest (1957), as Natalie Wood plays little more than a second fiddle love interest to Efram Zimbalist Jr., who maintains war readiness during the Cold War era. Chronologically, the next film in the set is Cash McCall, which is an above-average romantic comedy about a nice girl (Ms. Wood) who falls for a megalomaniac dickhead (James Garner). While entertaining, it doesn't hold a candle to what is arguably the greatest film in the set: Splendor in the Grass. Elia Kazan's controversial 1961 film about gaining perspective on idealism and young love is still quite shocking to this day, but for very different reasons. When Warren Beatty pushes Natalie Wood to her knees in front of him and forces her to call him master, one can do little more than respond with shock and awe, as that sort of behaviour would never exist in a modern love story, unless it were French. Also included in the collection is the 1962 vaudeville musical Gypsy, where Ms. Wood plays the titular Gypsy Rose Lee, a sophisticated stripper with a penchant for singing and dancing. This one is strictly for fans of the musical, unlike Sex and the Single Girl, which is both commercial and surreal in its depiction of high-concept accidental love. If anything, this film proves how much more amiable Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis are than Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, since thematically, this is the kind of film the latter pair have found the most success with. Rounding out the collection is Inside Daisy Clover, the 1965 Hollywood satire where Ms. Wood's character becomes a star but never gives up writing profanities on the wall when angry. Relevant to this day, this collection of six films is worth checking out not only Natalie Wood fans but for fans of classic cinema. (Warner)