Monday, December 19, 2011

Life Imitating Art

Speaking of Newsweek, they have an interesting article by Nancy Collins on the Natalie Wood case being reopened. Simultaneously, I happen to be reading for the first time Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, one of the great novels that I'd somehow never gotten to.

Isn't the triangle of Natalie Wood, husband Robert Wagner, and then-young Christopher Walken much like Anna, her husband Karenin, and Vronsky in the book? It's interesting that Natalie Wood was of Russian descent-- and looked it, very beautiful-- and I believe that Walken played an ethnic Russian in "The Deer Hunter," his first great movie role. Walken anyway could've easily played Vronsky back then, and Natalie Wood would've been a fabulous Anna Karenina. As an actor Walken was never the same after the strange night of her death-- he went from handsome leading man to weird character actor almost overnight.

I'm halfway through the novel. No, it's not as great as War and Peace, but it's still one of the biggies, timeless, with rich characterization and clear writing. No novelist today is comparable, sadly-- least of all the well-hyped frauds pushed at us from New York. Just my opinion, of course, but I doubt anyone can dispute it.

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