Splendor in the Grass (1961): Kazan’s Oscar-Winning Masterpiece, Starring Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood

The most significant small-town film, probing into the nature of youth sexuality, was undoubtedly Elia Kazan’s Splendor in the Grass.
Made in 1961, from William Inge’s original script, which won the Oscar, it is Kazan’s masterpiece–his most emotionally powerful and fully realized movie,.
Our Grade: A (***** out of *****)
A typical 1950s film, Splendor in the Grass shows that the beginning of a new decade often carries over the themes and ideology of the previous decade.

Like Peyton Place, made in 1957, Splendor in the Grass is a summation movie that examines growing pains, parental authority, adult irresponsibility, social hypocrisy, repressed sexuality, moral and mental breakdown, love and marriage.

However, unlike The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, which was made in the same year, these issues are placed against a specific historical backdrop that conveys a precise sense of time and place.

Kazan’s movie bears the scope, intensity, and ambition of an epic film, boasting the precision of a clinical case study put under magnifying and scrutinizing glasses.


In the opening sequence, Bud (Warren Beatty, in a stunning film debut) and Wilma Dean who’s called Deanie (Natalie Wood) sit in his car, a Model A Ford roadster with its top down. A long, fervent kiss leaves them breathless; they have to break away from each other to fight for breathing air. The still of the night makes their passion audible. They are in nature, with the forceful waterfall as background to their desire; water imagery and its sexual connotations prevail throughout this film.

At the center of the tale are two families, the Loomises and the Stampers, each situated differentially in the social-class hierarchy. The Stampers live in a big beautiful house. Ace Stamper (Pat Hingle), another domineering patriarch, is a wealthy man, owning the town’s oil wells. A sensitive youth, Bud is completely uninterested in his father’s business, wealth, or prestige. Ginny (Barbara Loden), Bud’s sister, the depraved jazz age flapper, is a “bad” girl and the black sheep of the family.

In contrast, the Loomises live in a small frame building next to a grocery store that Del Loomis (Fred Stewart) owns. The two families are dominated by different figures: the Stampers by the patriarch whose wife (Joanna Roos) is quiet and passive; the Loomises by the matriarch (Audrey Christie) whose husband is a weakling. Thus, while not one-parent families in the literal sense, they are still such units figuratively. There is not a single positive adult figure in the whole film. Mrs. Loomis, a neurotic mother, is inadequate as role model. “Bud could get you into a whole lot of trouble,” she warns her daughter, “Boys don’t respect a girl they can go all the way with, they always want a nice girl for a wife.” “Is it terrible to have those feelings about a boy” Deanie naively inquires. “No nice girl does,” her mother responds abruptly, “You father never laid a hand on me until we were married! And then I just gave in because a wife has to.”

Bud and Deanie are the ideal, most desirable, couple at their school, where there are all kinds of girls. There is Juanita (Jan Norris), the school “pick-up,” who dresses coquettishly and wears too much make-up. And there are Hazel, June, and Kay, who model themselves after Deanie. All the girls resent Juanita. “She is disgraceful,” says Deanie, protesting the way Bud looks at her.

Contrasted with all of them is Angelina (Zohra Lampert), the lower-class girl who Bud marries at the end. As her name indicates, she is good-hearted and selfless. Significantly, there is no description of their courtship or marriage.  When introduced in the film’s last scene, Angeline has one child and is pregnant with another.

Most boys in school are no better then Ace; they are products of a sexist culture. “I never look twice at those other girls anymore,” states Rusty in the shower room, “Ya take them out and spend good money on ’em and then they expect you to feel satisfied if they kiss you goodnight.” Like the other classmates, the spinsterish teacher Miss Metcalf (Martine Bartlett) watches Bud and Deanie with admiration, frustration, and envy.

What the youngsters study at school feeds their romantic fantasies, but it has little or no apparent use as guiding their behavior as libidinous teenagers.  “The knights all held a very high regard for womanhood, in fact, they put woman on a pedestal,” lectures Miss Metcalf, “Do any of you feet that you are on a pedestal” All the students think, and some look at Deanie”she is the only one on a pedestal. The school’s macho coach likes to bully his players, using sexist language to motivate them: “One day they play like girls, then the next day like they want to kill the whole world.”

The adult figures in Splendor are of no help; they, too, are victims of the repressive culture. Bud’s father is obtuse, hypocritical and insensitive, draining any energy and excitement out of his son. When Bud confides in his dad his sexual frustration, “I feel like I’m going nuts sometimes–like I’m going to come apart,” all that his father can say is, “What you need for the time being is another type of girl,” suggesting a separation between “genuine” romantic love and “quick” sexual gratification. “When I was a boy,” Ace recalls, “there was always two kinds of girls, and we boys never mentioned them in the same breath.”

As in King Vidor’s Beyond the Forest, the film makes connections between frustrated sexual desire and the constantly churning oil well. Lying in bed, Bud grabs a pillow, as if it were a person, and whispers “Deanie, Deanie”; in the background, the sound of the oil wells is heard. Placed in a similar position in her bed, Deanie grabs her teddy bear.

The mortality rate in this moralistic narrative is high: the two “villains” pay for their sins with their lives. Ginny dies in a car accident, a punishment for her loose morality and sexual transgression. She represents a threat to domesticated family life. Ace, her father, a victim of unlimited capitalistic ambitions, commits suicide when the stock market crashes. Both are chastised for immoral, excessive behavior, sexual and economic.

Splendor demonstrates the effects of sexual repression and emotional frustrations on two romantically naive youngsters. In his behavior, Bud epitomizes the conflict between sexual gratification and repression, the tension between obedience to parental authority and the need for rebellion. The effects of sexual abstention are tragic for both: Deanie descends into madness and goes nervous breakdown, and Bud faces a moral breakdown. And despite the fact that Deanie’s suffering is more acute (she’s institutionalized), Bud’s pain is no less devastating; his entire world is shattered.

The film is excellent in portraying Wilma and Bud’s dilemmas. Their desire, romantic love and sexual fulfillment, not only run against social conventions but also against their own beliefs of “proper” behavior. They are victims of an overly conformist socialization that perpetuates their victimization by submitting to the coercive norms they themselves suffer from. They are victims not of fate or circumstances but of socialization that stresses the wrong ideals. They are also victims of their personalities, too weak to revolt against unnecessary impositions. At the end, their decency and idealistic purity become a tragedy that brings them down.

The narrative is framed by Wordsworth’s poem, “Ode on Intimations of Immortality,” first recited in the classroom, then in the last scene, when Bud and Deanie face each other, after several years apart, for the last time. They are now grown-up, adjusted individuals who have lost their youthful vigor and idealism. Deanie fully understands the real meaning of Wordsworth’s poetry: “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind….”

The process of growing up is neither glamorized nor sentimentalized. Rather, it is depicted as painful and compromising: The film also shows the need to settle for second bests–take what life gives you, as Bud says at the end.  Inge’s frankness in treating sensitive issues is remarkable, and his two youthful characters are more complex than the protagonists of his other works. Inge succeeds in universalizing from the particular context of Southeast Kansas in the late 1920s. It’s a searing, often brutal, expose of small-town life, emphasizing its narrow-mindedness and rigid culture that borders on the criminal, with unbearable social-psychological consequences.

Splendor in the Grass evokes a particular past without being a museum period piece, when examined from a contemporary standpoint. The film’s issues bear significance that go beyond its time and place.


Music by David Amram
Cinematography by Boris Kaufman, A.S.C.
Edited by Gene Milford

Production company: Elia Kazan production for Newtown Productions, Inc. NBI Company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date: October 10, 1961
Running time: 124 minutes
Box office: $4 million (US rentals)


Natalie Wood as Wilma Dean “Deanie” Loomis
Pat Hingle as Ace Stamper
Audrey Christie as Mrs. Loomis
Barbara Loden as Virginia “Ginny” Stamper
Zohra Lampert as Angelina
Warren Beatty as Bud Stamper
Fred Stewart as Del Loomis
Joanna Roos as Mrs. Stamper
John McGovern as Doc Smiley
Jan Norris as Juanita Howard
Martine Bartlett as Miss Metcalf
Gary Lockwood as Allen “Toots” Tuttle
Sandy Dennis as Kay
Crystal Field as Hazel
Marla Adams as June
Lynn Loring as Carolyn
Phyllis Diller as Texas Guinan
Sean Garrison as Glenn
Ivor Francis as Dr. Judd
Mark Slade as Rusty
Godfrey Cambridge as Chauffeur
Buster Bailey as Musician at party
Lou Antonio as Oil field worker at party
William Inge as Reverend Whitman
Eugene Roche as Private detective
Charles Robinson as Johnny Masterson

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbethttps://bsport.fithttps://onbet88.ooohttps://i9bet.bizhttps://hi88.ooohttps://okvip.athttps://f8bet.athttps://fb88.cashhttps://vn88.cashhttps://shbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter