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Natalie Wood Paperback – Bargain Price, April 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Unlike the sexually explicit Natasha, by Suzanne Finstad, or Lana Wood's Natalie: A Memoir by Her Sister, Lambert's take on the luminous star of Gypsy and West Side Story is a relatively discreet, affectionate examination of Wood's short, turbulent life. Groomed by a fanatically controlling stage mother, Wood (1938â"1981) enchanted audiences in 1946's Tomorrow Is Forever and prompted Louella Parsons to proclaim, "Natalie Wood eats your heart out." Lambert follows her from such childhood triumphs as Miracle on 34th Street to her breakthrough adult part opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Wood's overlapping affairs with Rebel director Nicholas Ray and cast member Dennis Hopper, and brief romance with Elvis Presley, will be familiar material to aficionados. But Lambert reveals deep sensitivity and understanding of her development as an actress, and he's one of the few authors to capture the depth and beauty of her relationship with Robert Wagner. Lambert also effectively highlights Wood's shrewd professional moves, including her pretense to boss Jack Warner that she didn't want to star in Splendor in the Grass, because she knew he would refuse to let her appear in it if she displayed enthusiasm. The shooting of Wood's film with Robert Redford, Inside Daisy Clover, has special authenticity, since Lambert wrote the screenplay and witnessed her frustrations after several crucial voice-overs were cut from the final print. Details regarding Wood's tragic drowning are inevitably speculative and vital questions remain unanswered. But Lambert eloquently clarifies the self-destructive reasons behind Wood's addictions and insecurities, and in the end, readers will feel they truly know the subject more than they do in most biographies. 65 photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Most critics agree with The Washington Post that Natalie Wood "is splendid in every way." Capturing the real essence of another person is virtually impossible, especially when immersed in celebrity drama and pretense. In this moving and thorough examination of Wood's groundbreaking career and too-short life, Lambert, an accomplished novelist whose Inside Daisy Clover provided the basis for one of Wood's films, has come close to the impossible. With great empathy, he explores Wood the movie star and Wood the person, pointing out that all too often even she couldn't distinguish between the two. Natalie Wood, concludes the New York Times Book Review, "could be a model for a new way of looking at and thinking about today's movie stars."
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I realize not all of the reviews are favorable for this book and some accuse Lambert of speaking too much about his own or Mart Crowley or Scott Marlowe's homosexual dalliances. Let me dispel those reviews by saying that all Lambert does is acknowledge the homosexuality of certain people. He never goes into detail and it's necessary in order to write a true account of Natalie's life. Homosexuality was something that was discouraged and covered up at the time...hopefully we've come farther than that now and can read about Natalie having gay friends without being shocked and offended. Let me stress that this book is about NATALIE and Lambert never wavers his focus from her. The fact that some of her best friends and even boyfriends were gay is something that Lambert couldn't and shouldn't cover up without hiding a piece of Natalie's life from us.
In addition, the fact that Lambert is wary and distrustful of Natalie's mother, Maria, and sister, Lana, is not at all uncommon for anyone who knew Natalie. Natalie's mother was manipulative and controlling (a VERY well known fact) and unfortunately Lana inherited a great deal of that from her mother. This is backed up by more than Lambert and the Wagner family. Lambert's goal is not to drag certain people he disliked through the mud but to display the facts. I would also like to point out that his tone is very respectful throughout.
If you want to bury your head in the sand and read a book in which Natalie never did anything wrong, nothing distasteful happened to her, all her friends were straight, and all her family normal and respectable, this book isn't for you. But if you want a truthful, respectful, sweet, honest account of a wonderful woman's life, I would highly recommend this book.
The book is a bore from start to finish. There are far too many stories about Hollywood wannabes and an endless rehash of details about her mother, father and sisters. There are no meaningful insights, no interesting details revealed.
Lambert's writing is so awkward frequently had to reread the sentence page. Paragraph transitions are disjointed as well, and there are many disconcerting examples of odd word useage such as: "Everett Sloane...had sounded authentically Hebrew in the small part of a rabbi in Morningstar." Authentically Hebrew?
His numerous inaccuracies are disturbing as well. One wonders whether Lambert actually watched Natalie's films before writing the book.
The premise of "Marjorie Morningstar," for example, concerns a wealthy Jewish girl's dreams of breaking away from family tradition. Marjorie's lover, played by Gene Kelly as the the son of highly respected Jewish parents (his father is a judge), tries, in his own way, to escape family expectations.
Had the author bothered to see this film he would never have written "For Wouk to make Marjorie (nee Morgenstern) Jewish seems more a gimmick than an essential part of her star-is-not-born story, and in the movie the Jewish element is so diluted that it has no effect on her WASP lover, who's only momentarily restive at the Morgenstern's Passover dinner."
Skip this one. Suzanne Finstad's "Natasha" is a far more interesting and well written exploration of Natalie's life.