Sunday, June 13, 2010
Natalie Wood: Part 1 of 3 parts.
Natalie Wood's, mother had big dreams of Natalie becoming a famous actress or ballet dancer. Her mother would take Natalie to the movies and this is where she learned her acting style by watching other Hollywood child stars on the big screen.
Her mother used to tell her that when the cameraman pointed his lens out at the audience at the end of the film he was taking her picture. She would then pose and smile like he was going to make her famous. As most little girls do, she believed everything her mother told her.
When her family moved to Santa Rosa, California, Natalie was noticed during a film shoot in downtown. Her mother moved the whole family to Los Angeles and pursued a career for her daughter. Natalie, had a sister, Svetlana Zacharenko (better known as Lana Wood one of the "Bond girls"). She and Lana also have a half sister, Olga Viriapaeff.
Natalie made her first on screen performance a few weeks before turning five, in a very small scene in the film, Happy Land (1943). Where she caught the eye of director, Irving Pichel. He stayed in touch with her family until another role popped up. The director phoned Natalie's mother and asked to her bring her, down to Los Angeles for a screen test. Her mother packed up the whole family and headed off to Los Angeles to live.
Natalie, seven years old at the time, landed the part in a film opposite Orson Welles and Claudette Colbert in, Tomorrow Is Forever(1946), directed by Irving Pichel. The movie is about Elizabeth and John, a married couple separated when John goes off to fight in World War I. When Elizabeth learns of John's death, she marries another man. John, is still alive and returns, but after being disfigured in the war he has undergone plastic surgery, making him unrecognizable. He has also adopted a daughter. When he finds out that he has a son with Elizabeth, he has to make up his mind whether or not to tell his family his true identity.
After doing another film directed by Pichel, her mother signed her with 20th Century Fox studio for her first major performance in, Miracle on 34th Street (1947).
Natalie, performed in over 20 films as a child, performing opposite stars as: Gene Tierney, James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara, Bette Davis and Bing Crosby.
One of my favorite Natalie Wood movies is: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.(1947) This is a wonderful romantic fantasy that tells the story of young widow (Gene Tierney), who moves into what turns out to be haunted seaside cottage of the late Captain Gregg ( Rex Harrison), with her young daughter (played as a child by Natalie Wood, by Vanessa Brown as an adult). The captain first tries to scare the widow away, but soon they team up to write a novel so that she can stay at the cottage. They talk about everything except their feelings for each other. When Miles Fairley, a ladies man, enters Lucy's life offering her a chance for happiness in the real world, the Captain loves her enough to leave her. Unfortunately, Miles is found out for what he is and for the next thirty years Lucy lives in the Cottage alone, waiting.... Will she ever see her Captain again?