Marjorie Morningstar

Although merely a slice from Herman Wouk's doorstopper, this glossy soap opera certainly has its merits. Wood is very persuasive as the New York Jewish princess who longs to escape the dull conformity of her privileged background, and thinks she's on to bohemian gold in Kelly's songwriter/dancer/director when romance strikes at a lakeside summer resort. The film goes easier than the novel on anti-semitism in bourgeois American society, instead following the theme of expectation and disappointment. But Kelly's telling contribution as the talented yet troubled Noel Airman, whose gnawing insecurity that he might not be the genius he so obviously wants to be, resonates strongly with the star's own well-documented neuroses. The switchback from arrogance to vulnerability feels open and authentic in a way Kelly rarely displayed in his musical work, making it easily his most under-rated performance.

Release details

Duration: 123 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Irving Rapper
Screenwriter: Everett Freeman
Cast: Carolyn Jones
Gene Kelly
George Tobias
Ed Wynn
Edward Byrnes
Claire Trevor
Martin Milner
Martin Balsam
Natalie Wood
Everett Sloane

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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john christopher

There is something very appealing about the casting of Wood and Kelly, a rising and falling star together. I gather that readers of the book don't rate the film but as a film it stands on its own as a lovely. haunting comment, not on anti-semitism, but on failure. So many people don't realise their dreams in life but, like Kelly's character, can still find a place where they can live the dream on a smaller scale. I love the ending and Kelly, not Wood, makes the film so poignant and watchable.

john christopher

There is something very appealing about the casting of Wood and Kelly, a rising and falling star together. I gather that readers of the book don't rate the film but as a film it stands on its own as a lovely. haunting comment, not on anti-semitism, but on failure. So many people don't realise their dreams in life but, like Kelly's character, can still find a place where they can live the dream on a smaller scale. I love the ending and Kelly, not Wood, makes the film so poignant and watchable.