You're Gonna Hear From Daisy Clover

You're Gonna Hear From Daisy Clover
There a people who make the rules, people who follow the rules, and people who understand how to manipulate the rules to their advantage. Then, you have Daisy Clover.

When Inside Daisy Clover premiered in 1966, it was considered – at best – a dull and plodding story about the inconceivably dark side of Hollywood. It was implied that there were, of course, unsavory elements to the Hollywood machine, but that Miss Daisy Clover’s experience was just too conveniently awful to believe.

The reviewer for the New York Times panned the film, comparing it to A Star is Born. One can almost hear him spitting into his wastebasket in order to get the bad taste out of his mouth. To him, Inside Daisy Clover was completely without merit.

Hogwash.

Agreed, Inside Daisy Clover is not the best film ever made about how performers are considered commodities rather than individuals; it may not even be in the top ten. Yet, the film offers some interesting insights into the young Miss Clover, which – considering the title of the film – is supposed to be the point. And anyone who remembers what it is like to be a teenager knows that teenagers dream big and they dream hard.

The film, an adaptation of the novel by the same name, begins with tomboy Daisy (Natalie Wood) writing in her new journal:

“The 24th of August 1936. Angel Beach California. USA. The World. The Universe. Happy Birthday Daisy Clover. 15”.

Teenage Daisy Clover is a poor, uneducated, angry, rebellious young girl who dreams of trading her impoverished life for one of stardom. But how? She has no money, no education, no role models. The only person she values is her mother (Ruth Gordon) – a batty eccentric known to everyone as “The Dealer” – who bounces in and out of reality quicker than a beach ball on the boardwalk.

When Daisy discovers that she can sing – really sing – she submits recordings of her voice to Swan Studios in hopes that her talent is her ticket to stardom. Today, one only has to look at social media or YouTube to see that young people haven’t changed that much.

In today’s context, it is important to remember that this story is not just about how ruthless Hollywood types might be when it comes to unsuspecting dreamers, it is also a story about a girl who learns that she has the power to live her life without compromise. However, to gain that empowerment, Daisy has to endure some pretty unbelievable manipulations.
She is instructed to follow the rules, do as she is told, and she complies – partially because she knows her dreams depend on it and partially because she is still just a kid. Like a lot of teens, Daisy thinks she can handle anything the world can throw at her. And she is right, up to a point.

As the people around her become greedier, Daisy becomes more and more frustrated by being a young person in a world where the rules are made by others.

The film spans just a couple of years of Daisy’s life, but during that time she is manipulated into grown up relationships, marriage, and divorce. She starts to learn how to use the rules to her advantage, even if she is too young to change them, and she begins to understand that the rule-makers are very poor excuses for adults.

The tide turns when The Dealer passes away and Daisy is so emotionally battered that she can no longer perform. She considers suicide, but instead chooses to start living by her own rules. She takes power over her own life, and in a very dramatic way.

One of the most memorable scenes is Daisy’s audition where she sings, “You’re Gonna Hear From Me,” by Andre and Dory Previn. The song is full of hope and ambition and sung with passion by Miss Wood herself. It is a window into this young girl’s soul.

Yes, the film has its failings, but it also has worth. Just like Daisy, sometimes it is necessary to look past the flaws in order to see what’s really going on inside.




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Content copyright © 2019 by Lucinda Moriarty. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lucinda Moriarty. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lucinda Moriarty for details.