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The Mystery of Natalie Wood

1 rating: 4.0
A movie directed by Peter Bogdanovich

Netherlands released, PAL/Region 2 DVD:it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ),Dutch ( Subtitles ),SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Scene Access,SYNOPSIS: … see full wiki

Tags: Movies
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
1 review about The Mystery of Natalie Wood

solid, well-acted and absorbing

  • May 22, 2006
Rating:
+4
An absorbing look into the life of one of Hollywood's most beautiful leading ladies, THE MYSTERY OF NATALIE WOOD is based on Suzanne Finstad's authoritive biography entitled "Natasha" and stars Justine Waddell in a very eerie performance as Wood; with expert direction from Peter Bogdanovich.

Using interviews with Natalie's family, friends and workmates, the movie traces Wood from her origins as young Natasha Gurdin, whose calculating stage mother 'Mud' (Alice Krige) pushed her into the spotlight and kick-started her career as a child-actress. 'Mud' famously presented Natasha on the set of "Happy Land", and convinced director Irving Pichel to find a small role for her. Pichel was impressed and immediately cast her in "The Bride Wore Boots" as well as "Tomorrow is Forever" that same year, where she played an emotionally-scarred German war orphan. With the new name of Natalie Wood, acclaimed performances in "The Green Promise", "The Ghost and Mrs Muir", "Miracle on 34th Street" and "The Star" followed, but success as an adult performer alluded Wood until she was cast opposite James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause". She followed that with "Marjorie Morningstar", "Splendour in the Grass" (considered her greatest performance), "West Side Story" and "Gypsy".

From childhood, Wood was crippled with agonizing fears including, most prophetically, water. Her mother loved telling the story of a mysterious gypsy fortune-teller who predicted that Wood would become a famous star, but should beware of dark water. Wood's fears were almost realised when she had a bad accident on the set of "Green Promise", falling off a bridge and into a torrent of water which nearly pulled her under. During filming of Denie's attempted suicide scene in "Splendour in the Grass", Wood was required to swim in a river, a task she undertook with great trepidation.

The movie also recounts her marriages to Robert Wagner (they were married in 1957 but divorced and later re-married in 1972) and Richard Gregson. Her later life was quite happy and Wood was able to become the wife and mother she had always wanted to be. But her shock accidental death in 1981 when she fell off her yacht near Catalina Island remains a mystery which will never be fully-explained. This movie attempts to address the question, and indeed the scene is very harrowing, but Wood's death was never anything but a strange and cruel accident, the prophecy of the fortune-teller had seemingly been true on all counts. But the film ends with a wonderful montage of the real Natalie at the happiest times of her life and career, and that's how we should remember and treasure her.

Justine Waddell ("Wives and Daughters", "Great Expectations") is thrilling as Natalie and it is quite spooky at just how much she resembles Wood.

THE MYSTERY OF NATALIE WOOD was filmed at Fox Studios Australia with various locations filmed throughout Sydney. The supporting cast includes many well-known Aussie faces including Sophie Monk as Marilyn Monroe, Rupert Reid as Henry Jaglom, Jason Smith as Wood's first love Jimmy and Colin Friels as Natalie's father. Michael Weatherly is also fine playing Robert Wagner. Originally shown in two parts.

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