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It must have been so easy and tempting to turn this movie into something overblown and melodramatic but the reason why "Splendor in the Grass" works out is because it doesn't fall for any of that and manages to be an original and effective movie within its genre, without actually featuring an original story.

It's fair to say that it's being thanks to Elia Kazan's directing and storytelling technique that this movie works out as something so effective and powerful. He slowly lays everything out and develops the story and all of its characters and their (love) relationships with each other. It makes all of its build up work out, as well as the pay off, at the end of it all. It besides is being a movie that really give all of its actors the room to really shine and tell the story, at times without using any words.

Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty were such a great young screen couple within this movie. You could really feel their love and all of their emotions within this movie. But the movie has many more other great characters and actors in it, such as Pat Hingle, in perhaps his very best role. Such a shame that as an actor he never really received the recognition he deserved because he was a really capable one, who had a wide range as well.

The movie doesn't ever get overblown or sappy, despite of all of its heavy handed subjects in it. I mean, lots of stuff and drama is happening in this movie but yet it really manages to remain a really down to Earth one. Really no matter how unlikely the story ever gets, the movie manages to make everything come across as something realistic. You can feel all of the emotions the characters have to suffer through, which is of course about the biggest compliment you can ever give any drama.

Really a must-see if you're into old fashioned, big, family-drama's.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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