Meanwhile, she becomes attracted to Casey Cole (Charlton Heston), a rugged rancher who returns her affections. Unfortunately, Casey's old-fashioned values about marriage conflict with Lucy's business ambitions. It quickly becomes clear that one of them will have to bend if these two lovers are going to find happiness.
The opening scenes of Lucy Gallant are captivating, with Wyman creating a sassy, appealing heroine who knows what she wants and how to get it--from a business perspective. Alas, Lucy doesn't know what she wants when it comes to love. She obviously cares for Casey, but he's a boot-wearing outdoorsman and she's a stylish socialite. It's the Green Acres conundrum...except that Casey stops short of forcing Lucy into a life on the ranch.
Eventually, it becomes tedious watching this couple trying to find a compromise as the years roll by. A good supporting cast--which includes Thelma Ritter, Claire Trevor (shown at right), and William Demarest--maintains viewer interest (though one wishes they had more to do, especially the spunky Trevor). There's also a high-end runway show introduced by none other than Edith Head! That almost makes up for the film's ending, which I personally found unsatisfying and a little depressing.
|Natalie Wood and collie.|
Driftwood, a Republic Pictures "B" movie, was made the same year as Miracle on 34th Street. While it lacks the magic of that Natalie Wood film, Driftwood remains a pleasant family drama. Yes, there's never any doubt how Driftwood will end. Each plot turn is telegraphed well ahead of time (hmm...will someone get Rocky Mountain spotted fever? Just where did that collie come from?). I didn't mind that, though, principally because it was played so well by the cast.
Natalie Wood was a natural on the screen--a gift she displayed as a child and later an adult actress. In films such as 34th Street, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and in Driftwood, the young Natalie charms subtly and realistically without overplaying cuteness.
|Ruth Warrick and Dean Jagger.|