Saturday, November 16, 2013

TV MOVIES TO: NATALIE WOOD


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PLAYMATES (1952)
starring
Alan Napier
Natalie Wood
Moyna MacGill
Nelson Welch
Linda Green
Directed by Richard Irving



This relic from the early days of US Television, an anthology episode apparently shot on film but with the meager production values of live TV, has some ambition in its blanded down "Turn of the Screw" concept and the performance from young Natalie Wood at her most vulnerable-appealing. She is being home schooled in the isolated house by uncle Napier, when the visit of local vicar Welch reveals the house's sinister secrets - aha!  There is an attempts at style in the opening mobile camera, non verbal material - which misleadingly suggests that Natalie is mute. Hard to imagine the later accomplished Fredricks contributing these drab images.



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THE PRIDE OF THE FAMILY (1953-1955)
Paul Hartman as Albie Morrison
 Fay Wray as Catherine Morrison
 Natalie Wood as Ann Morrison
 Bobby Hyatt as Junior Morrison
 Joey D. Viera (later known as Donald Keeler) as Hollis Bridwell
Recurring:
Steve Terrell as Tom (recurring)
Larry Blake as Frank (recurring)
Frank Ferguson as Murdock (recurring)
Directed by Bob Finkel


Hartman portrays Albie Morrison, the father and error-prone head of the household, about whom most of the episodes are centered. Albie works in the advertising section of his local newspaper, and he often has new ideas that go awry in the workplace as well as failed handyman activities at home.  Wray, remembered in particularly from her role in the horror film King Kong, plays Albie's wife, Catherine. Natalie Wood is the 15-year-old daughter, Ann, and "Bobby" Hyatt (1939–2007) is the 14-year-old son, Junior Morrison. Larry J. Blake appeared fourteen times in the role of "Frank". Billboard described Hartman's lead role as "average"; indeed the series attempted to present the "average family." Guest stars included Tol Avery, Barbara Billingsley, Douglas Fowley, Frank Ferguson (five times as Murdock), Lyle Talbot, Steven Terrell (five times as Tom), and Joey D. Vieira (six episodes as Hollis).

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I´M A FOOL (1954)
starring
James Dean ....... the Boy
Natalie Wood ..... Lucy
Roy Glenn ........ Burt
Eve March ........ Mother
Leon Tyler ....... Wilbur
Gloria Castillo .. Elinor
Fiona Hale ....... Mildred
Directed by Don Medford

In this short drama, James Dean takes on Sherwood Anderson's restless Ohio youth. Writer Anderson's "I'm a Fool" originally appeared in his collection "Horses and Men"; and, the author is known to have influenced John Steinbeck, who authored of "East of Eden". Mr. Dean completed the film version of writer Steinbeck's "Eden" over the summer (it was not yet released). Natalie Wood appears in this "Fool", cast as the young woman Dean falls in love with. Ms. Wood would soon start filming "Rebel Without a Cause"; so, this is almost a "try-out" for "Rebel". In a completely unrelated event, "Fool" was re-made for PBS, in 1976, with Ron Howard and Amy Irving; although, Ms. Irving appeared almost simultaneously in William Bast's biography "James Dean".

In "I'm a Fool", Dean plays "The Boy" aka "Walter Mathers" alongside Eddie Albert's on-screen narration of the same character. It's an interesting, but not altogether successful, juxtaposition. Although each performs well, Dean and Albert do not truly seem like the same character. The play is also "impressionistic" in technique; for example, you will see characters walking around partial and painted sets. This does, at times, distract from the story, which concerns the consequences of Dean's lying to impress Wood's "Lucy Wessen". Wood performs exceptionally well with Dean, and they look great together; this was not a commonly found feature with Dean's female TV co-stars. Wood was wisely signed to appear with Dean on the big screen.

Though rendered slightly inaccessible in its state and style, the story is a good one. Albert and Dean convey the tragedy of foolishness. Roy Glenn (as Burt) is terrific in his supporting role. When this teleplay was repeated, on November 18, 1956, then host Ronald Reagan appeared in a new introduction, which included him saying "those of us who worked with Jimmy Dean." It seems like a foolish enough claim to include in the script; but, Mr. Reagan did co-star with Dean, in another television drama.

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RETURN OF THE DEAD (1954)
starrings
Natalie Wood
Reed Hadley
Robert Bice
James Flavin
Steven Geray
Gladys Holland


A teenager is accused of attempted murder and explains her story about her mother's delima when her father returns from the dead.

 
  
  
  
  
 


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THE PLOT AGAINST MISS POMEROY (1954)
starring
Jean Byron ....... Eunice Pomeroy
Natalie Wood .......Sheila Mason
Eleanor Audley ....... Miss Hunt
Gay Lynn ....... Norma
Morris Ankrum ....... Mr. Mason
Pauline Moore ..... Mrs. Boche

A timid teacher at an exclusive girls' finishing school is asked to do a
special favor for a rich pupil. The pupil shows her gratitude by planning a
practical joke-the butt, the teacher.


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THE RELUCTANT REDEEMER (1954)
Written by Helene Hanff
starring
John Barrymore Jr. ... Moses
Natalie Wood ... Sephora
Karen Sharpe
Douglas Dumbrille
Gertrude Michael

The story tells of Moses' upbringing by an Egyptian pharaoh, his killing of a cruel overseer and the flight to Media where he marries. When the voice of God comes from the burning bush he returns to Egypt to free his people. Natalie Wood will be featured as the beloved ot Moses when he was a young man. [RF]
*NOTE: Title also listed as "The Story of Moses".
 
 
 
 
Moses is brought up as a grandson of an Egyptian pharaoh and finally learns that he is adopted and a Jew. After accidentally killing a cruel overseer who has been torturing Jewish slaves, Moses flees to Media, where he marries, has two sons and settles down to a happy rural life. When the voice of God speaks to him from the burning bush, he has a long struggle with his conscience but returns to Egypt to free his people.

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MAYOR OF THE TOWN (1954)
starring:
Thomas Mitchell as Mayor Thomas Russell
Natalie Wood as Mayor's niece
 Katheleen Freeman as Marilly, housekeeper
David Saber as Butch, ward
Jean Byron as Minnie
Tudor Owen as Joe Ainsley
Directed by John Rawlins

Events in the life of Thomas Russell, Mayor of Springdale - a small American town.

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HEIDI (1955)
Guest cast:
Jeannie Carson ........ Heidi
Natalie Wood .......... Klara Sesseman
Wally Cox ............. Peter
Elsa Lanchester ....... Fraulein Rottenmeier
Jo Van Fleet .......... Aunt Dete
Richard Eastham ....... Grandfather
Robert Clary .......... Eric Highlights
Directed by Max Liebman



Eight-year-old Heidi is orphaned and her selfish maternal Aunt Dete takes her to the mountains to live with Adolph Kramer, her grumpy, old, outcast, survivalist paternal grandfather. Heidi brings her grandfather back into mountain society through her angelic ways, sheer love, and adorable personality. When Aunt Dete steals Heidi away to be the companion of a rich man's invalid daughter, the grandfather is enraged and sets out to get her back. Back in Frankfurt, loved and adored by everyone she touches except the villainous housekeeper, Fraulein Rottenmeier, she thrives but is inwardly very sad and lonely. No matter what anyone tells her, Heidi, with faith, hope, and the stubbornness she inherited from her grandfather, knows that some day she will be reunited with the him and the beloved people of the mountain's little village.

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THE WILD BUNCH (1955)
Starring
Charles Boyer ...... George
Noreen Nash ........ Leonora
Natalie Wood ....... Louise
Gigi Perreau ....... Carlotta
B.G. Norman ........ David
Tommy Cook ......... Johnny
William Walker ..... Uncle Sim
Willa Pearl Curtis.. Aunt Cassie
Barbara Stuart ..... Hostess
Directed by William A. Seiter
Producer Charles Boyer

This is an episode of "Four Star Playhouse"--a 1950s anthology series that used four famous actors as alternating leads in each show. This particular one stars Charles Boyer--a wonderful actor who seemed a bit out of place in this very rushed show.

The story begins with Boyer having just married a woman. Only then does she reveal that she has children. Now, if you think about it, this makes little sense--how could a man actually marry a lady and not know she has three grown children?! Regardless, the idea, while strained, was workable IF the show hadn't been so rushed and the ending so contrived. You see, the kids are all horrible brats and it appears as if will take months or years to get them under control. However, the clever Boyer, through the use of discipline and understanding, is able to win them over with rapidity that would shock Mary Poppins! Now if this had not been a half hour show and stretched out to a longer format, it might have worked. Instead, it's entertaining but very, very slight. A good idea but the execution left a bit to be desired.


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FEATHERTOP (1955)
starring
Natalie Wood ....... Polly Gookin
Carleton Carpenter .......Feathertop
Irene Tedrow
Dick Elliot
Emory Parnell
John Carlyle
Directed by Don Medford

 
In seventeenth century New England, the witch Mother Rigby builds a scarecrow to protect her garden. She is so taken with her own handiwork that she whimsically decides to bring the scarecrow to life and send it into town to woo Polly Gookin, the daughter of Judge Gookin, with whom Mother Rigby had unspecified prior dealings. Once the stuffed man does come alive, Mother Rigby gives him the appearance of a normal human being - and a pipe, on which the scarecrow must puff to keep himself alive.
Judge Gookin meets the scarecrow, whom Mother Rigby has named Feathertop. Feathertop is introduced to Polly, and the two begin to fall in love. But when Polly and Feathertop gaze into a bewitched mirror, they see Feathertop reflected as a scarecrow, not as a man. Polly faints, and the now-terrified and anguished scarecrow rushes back to Mother Rigby, where, knowing himself for what he really is, he deliberately throws away his pipe and collapses in a lifeless heap. Mother Rigby reflects, "There are thousands upon thousands of coxcombs and charlatans in the world, made up of just such a jumble of wornout, forgotten, and good-for-nothing trash as he was! Yet they live in fair repute, and never see themselves for what they are," and decides that her "son" is better off as merely a scarecrow.


 
 


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MIRACLE AT POTTER'S FARM (1955)
starring
Natalie Wood   ........... Jen Potter
Luke Halpin  ........... Brucie
Frank McHugh  ........... Horace Potter

And: ...........Betty Furness
Directed by Franklin Schaffner

 

 

 

Dramatic anthology series which ran on CBS for ten years from 1948 until 1958. The episodes were often abridged remakes of movies from years gone by and many future well-known television and movie actors appeared in the productions.



Brucie and his big sister, Jen, are two of five children who face separation and removal from the family farm after their father's death.



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TOO OLD FOR DOLLS (1955)

starring
Laraine Day ....... Marge Ramsay
Franchot Tone ....... Mike Ramsay
Natalie Wood ....... Polly
Tommy Cook ...... Ed
Joyce Coates ....... Betty Mae Clark
Directed by Fred F. Sears

Parents are concerned that their teen-aged daughter doesn't have a date for her school's formal dance. She assures them she has a boy named Al all lined up. Recalling that "Al" was the name of her imaginary childhood friend, Dad arranges for one of the boys from the office to escort her. It turns out that Al really does exist.




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WEDDING GIFT (1955)
starring
 Natalie Wood
Jack Kelly
Gig Young
Nan Leslie
Robert  Horton


As a young man steps out of the military and into civilian life, he becomes bitter with his overbearing wife who has already charted out his entire life, without any input from him.

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LITTLE MISS BEDFORD (1956)
starring
Jessica Tandy
Hume Cronyn
Natalie Wood

A couple fall in love during a long sea voyage.

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CARNIVAL (1956)
Guest cast:
Dennis Hopper ........ Tod Monaghan
Natalie Wood ......... Renee Gyllinson
Sydney Chaplin ....... Tiger Hudson
Maggie Mahoney ....... Louise Thornton
Claire Kelly ......... Little Egypt
Directed by George Roy Hills
 


A young woman learns that her father is a thief.

Complications ensue when a fast-talking carnival barker falls in love with a socialite.
The barker's former sweetheart, a carnival dancer, is not favorably impressed.

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THE DEADLY RIDDLE (1956)
starrings
Jacques Sernas
Natalie Wood
Mary Ellen Kay
Torin Thatcher
Geoffrey Toone
 Directed by Don Weis

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GIRL ON THE SUBWAY (1957)
starring
Natalie Wood
James Garner
Charles Ruggles
Joseph Kearns
Murray Hamilton
Directed by John Rich



 



 




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THE FIRST AMERICAN TEENAGER (1976)

starrings:
Natalie Wood
Jayne Mansfield
Dennis Hopper
Clint Walker
Rock Hudson

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THE AFFAIR (1973)
starring
Natalie Wood
Robert Wagner
Bruce Davison
 Jamie Smith-Jackson
Pat Harrington Jr.
Paul Ryan
Directed by Gilbert Cates



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I´M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF(1975)
starrings:
Natalie Wood
John Houseman
François Truffaut
Nicholas Ray
Tom Farrell
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CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1976)
starrings
Natalie Wood
Robert Wagner
Laurence Olivier
Maureen Staplenton
Jack Hedley
Mary Peach
Directed by Robert Moore
Produced by Laurence Olivier




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FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1979)
Starrings
Natalie Wood
 William Devane
 Steve Railsback
 Kim Basinger
 Joe Pantoliano
 Roy Thinnes
 Peter Boyle
 Andy Griffith
 Will Sampson
 Salomé Jens
 Richard Venture
Directed by Buzz Kulik


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THE CRACKER FACTORY (1979)
Starrings
Natalie Wood
 Perry King
 Peter Haskell
 Juliet Mills
 Vivian Blaine
 Shelley Long
Directed by Burt Brinckerhoff



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THE HERMITAGE (1980)
starrings: 
Natalie Wood
and 
Peter Ustinov

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THE MEMORY OF EVA RYKER (1980)
Starrings
Natalie Wood
 Ralph Bellamy
 Robert Foxworth
 Roddy McDowall
 Bradford Dillman
 Jean Pierre Aumont
 Peter Graves
 Mel Ferrer
 Morgan Fairchild
Directed by Walter Grauman

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