Unclassifiable, odd film
This movie often seems surrealistic, sometimes comic, sometimes despairing and it has musical numbers which come from another dimension entirely--they are a mix of Busby Berkeley and 1960s design. The film seems like an eccentric comedy at first with 15 year-old tomboy Daisy (Natalie Wood) and her wacky mother (Ruth Gordon) both competing over who can chew scenery faster. Suddenly, she's plucked by sinister studio head Christopher Plummer and turned into a star. The studios of the time were certainly often sinister, but I found the dispatch of Ma Clover to the mental institution a bit of a stretch. The film has other implausible moments plus a tone of anachronism as the songs, by Andre and Dory Previn, are 1960s Broadway in style. Many scenes of loneliness and isolation--a strangely deserted Santa Monica pier,an empty desert motel, a studio that always seems empty, even the sound stages seem empty. You rarely see the bustle you expect in a film set at a studio or in Hollywood. This is an odd, fascinating, 1/2 successful film.
- Feb 1, 2014
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