Monday, January 2, 2017

Movie Review: Splendor in the Grass

This is a movie of thwarted love, which leads to a two-year stay in a mental institution for Dee Dee (Natalie Wood) and a life settling for for Bud (Warren Beatty).  The are from rural Kansas.  Bud's father (Pat Hingle) is the money behind the town.  When these two were high school lovebirds, there was too much going against the relationship.   Bud always wanted more in terms of sex, but Dee Dee always resisted based on her teachings at home from her mother (Audrey Christie).  Her father was supportive (Fred Stewart) but also in the back ground as they struggle  to get ahead.  They do finally make a killing in the stock market.  On the other hand, Bud's father is dead set against the relationship.  Bud is going to Yale no matter what happens.  He already destroyed the hopes of his daughter Ginny (Barbara Loden) who turns out bad as a result.  Bud's father manages to separate the lovers, and as a result Dee Dee becomes more and more distraught.  Finally at her graduation dance, she is with another boy at the kissing spot, gets away form him and is determined to kill herself going over some water falls there.  Her father sells stock to support her in a mental institution in Kansas.  She is there for two years.  She does come out of her melancholy, and befriends another man there who is studying to be a doctor.  He had had a break down cutting into a cadaver.  Before Dee Dee leaves the hospital he has proposed to her by letter, after he does recover and begins his medical practice.  Bud's father becomes one of those who jumps in New York, after arranging for his son to meet a girl who looks like Dee Dee.  After being released from the hospital, Dee Dee discovers she cannot go with Bud, he is married; she is going to marry the doctor.
Wood does an excellent job acting.  The quiver in her lip when confronted by a school teacher is perfect.  You can see the emotion in her face, and her lead up to the breakdown is well done.  She was nominated for an Academy Award.
There is some brief nudity, as Dee Dee's mother confronts her while she is in the tub.  Dee Dee has an episode as a result, screaming and ending up on the bed.  The movie has a good point in that, sometimes what happens to us does not carry into adulthood.  That is the point behind the poem the use,
 Splendour in the Grass
 What though the radiance
 which was once so bright
 Be now for ever taken from my sight,
 Though nothing can bring back the hour
 Of splendour in the grass,
 of glory in the flower,
 We will grieve not, rather find
 Strength in what remains behind;
 In the primal sympathy
 Which having been must ever be;
 In the soothing thoughts that spring
 Out of human suffering;
 In the faith that looks through death,
 In years that bring the philosophic mind.
-- William Wordsworth

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