SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
1961, Warner Bros., 124 min, USA, Dir: Elia Kazan

Natalie Wood gives her greatest performance as an anguished teenager in love with high school beau Warren Beatty - a boy from her town's most prominent family, in director Elia Kazan’s heart-wrenching portrait of forbidden love in 1920s America. Wood’s tormented cries of "I’m a good girl, mama" come from some haunted place few actresses ever reach - her work here earned Wood her second (of three) Oscar nominations as Best Actress.


GYPSY
1962, Warner Bros., 149 min, Dir: Mervyn Le Roy

Natalie Wood lights up the screen as stripper Gypsy Rose Lee in this splendid Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim/Arthur Laurents musical. The show-stopping Rosalind Russell stars as Wood’s domineering stage mother, with Karl Malden as Russell’s long-suffering boyfriend.


REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
1955, Warner Bros., 111 min, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Director Nicholas Ray’s mythic saga of teen disobedience and alienation in 1950s America made James Dean and co-star Natalie Wood instant cultural icons. Ray’s use of color and the CinemaScope screen remains groundbreaking, rivaling Hitchcock for striking frame compositions and bold symbolism. Co-starring Sal Mineo, Jim Backus and Dennis Hopper, and featuring the Griffith Park Observatory. "The film still breathes like a hurt, brooding animal. It's an indelible vision of a pretty 1950s America with a searing crack in it … a movie so audacious it can only be poetry, a kind of cinematic free verse." - Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle


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