|Ophelia of the Prairie. Natalie Wood|
The movie, pitched for soapy hysteria, is both an idealization of misunderstood youth and a criticism of the impetuous promiscuity of high schoolers. Is Deanie, who goes mad, supposed to be a female James Dean in East of Eden (1955)? A teenage Blanche DuBois? Ophelia of the Prairie? The Inge screenplay won an Oscar, but it has much bigger problems than that. Incidentally, Phyllis Diller plays the notorious speakeasy owner Texas Guinan — she may be the stablest person in the cast — and Inge himself plays a reverend.