Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Splendor in the Grass (1961)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Splendor in the Grass (1961)

In Elia Kazan's intensely-felt, romantic melodrama of William Inge's screenplay:

  • the many appealing scenes of two love-struck, star-crossed teenage sweethearts in Kansas in 1928 - Arthur ("Bud") Stamper (Warren Beatty in his film debut) and dark-haired Wilma Dean ("Deanie") Loomis (Oscar-nominated Natalie Wood) - both were repressed and sexually frustrated, Commerce High School senior sweethearts
  • the film's opening scene - the two teenagers were necking in Bud's yellow roadster convertible next to a raging waterfall, ending when she resisted his sexual advances: "Bud, I'm afraid. Don't, Bud...We mustn't, Bud"
  • the sequence of Deanie's interrogation by her meddling, rigid puritanical mother (Audrey Christie) after returning home from being with Bud; while in the bathroom with the door shut, Deanie was forced to listen to her mother's lecture about being a "good girl" -- "Now Wilma Dean. Bud Stamper could get you into a whole lot of trouble. And you know how I mean. Boys don't respect a girl they can go all the way with. Boys want a nice girl for a wife...Wilma Dean, you and Bud haven't gone too far already, have you?...Tell me the truth, Wilma Dean!"
  • the image of an unsatisfied "Deanie", after rebuffing having sex with Bud - she threw herself onto her bed, cast away her brown bear in disgust, grabbed her pillow, and thrust her chest into it; her sexual longings burst forth as she imagined hugging her sweetheart while glancing at Bud's many pictures plastered above her dresser
  • the scene of Deanie walking down the crowded school corridor filled with classmates, with a radiant look of love on her face toward Bud as they were hand-in-hand together - obviously Deanie was pleased to be admired and possessed by the school's handsome football hero
  • the sequence of the two of them in her empty house, when Deanie confessed her complete submission to Bud: "I-I'd do anything for you....Because I am nuts about you, and I would go down on my knees to worship you if you really wanted me to. Bud, I can't get along without you. And I would do anything you'd ask me to. I would! I would! Anything!"
Deanie's Complete Submission to Bud
  • the school classroom scene, when Deanie was called upon by her spinster-like literature teacher Miss Metcalf (Martine Bartlett) to interpret William Wordsworth's 1807 poem: "What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now forever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour, Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind"; Deanie rose and read the phrases aloud from her textbook, with tears welling up in her eyes and an uncomfortable lump in her throat, and then she interpreted the lines with great difficulty: "Well, I think it has some...Well, when we're young, we look at things very idealistically, I guess, and I think Wordsworth means that when we grow up, that we have to forget the ideals of youth and find strength..."; while explaining the poem about the termination of an eternal love affair, Deanie became devastated and overcome - she slowly walked to the front of the room with her textbook still cradled in her arms and her hand shielding and cradling the side of her face - and asked to be excused before experiencing a nervous breakdown and running from the classroom in front of all of her classmates
  • the emotionally devastating sequence of Deanie's steam bath, when her strict mother questioned her about being spoiled: "Deanie, how serious had you and Bud become? I mean, well, you know what I mean. Deanie - had he - had anything serious happened? Did he - did he spoil you?" -- Deanie reacted with both rage and uncontrollable, hysterical laughter: "Spoil??? Did he spoil me? (she turned and submerged her head under the steaming water, flailed around and then sat up again.) No. No, Mom! (hatefully) I'm not spoiled! I'm not spoiled, Mom! I'm just as fresh and I'm virginal like the day I was born, Mom!...I'm a lovely virginal creature who wouldn't think of being spoiled! (She stands up in the tub and steps out with her arms outstretched.) I've been a good little girl, Mom! I've been a good little, good little, good little girl! I've always done everything Daddy and Mommy tell me. I've obeyed every word. I hate you, I hate you, I HATE YOU!" - she ran naked down the hallway to her room
  • the sequence of Deanie's attendance at the Bon Voyage Grads dance (held in the school gym) in a red, slinky outfit, with the objective of seducing and warming up her cold-hearted ex-boyfriend Bud -- she made desperate sexual advances toward him - to consummate her feelings for the greatest love of her life, and lustfully risked everything when she begged him to make love to her - unfortunately, Bud rejected her during the failed reunion - for not being 'herself' ("a nice girl") and for denying her pride (Deanie: "My pride? MY PRIDE!!...Oh, God. I haven't any pride. I HAVEN'T ANY PRIDE!...I haven't any pride. I just want to die. I just want to die"); as a result of the rejection, Deanie's emotional frailty caused suicidal thoughts and her tortured madness to resurface
  • afterwards, the scene of her attempted drowning suicide at the waterfall when she jumped into the river while despairing over Bud - she was rescued by onlookers, and subsequently hospitalized
  • and years later, the final closing sequence of her bittersweet and awkward reunion with Bud at his ramshackle farmhouse (he had since become a local farmer and married black-haired Italian waitress Angelina (Zohra Lampert), with one child and another on the way); Deanie was driven to Bud's home by girlfriends Hazel (Crystal Field) and June (Marla Adams); she was wearing a virginal white dress outfit, white pearls, white gloves and a broad-brimmed white hat; their conversation was brief and revealing when she realized that the affection that they once had could never be recovered
Reunion with Bud and His Wife Angelina at His Farmhouse
  • after the visit, her girlfriends asked: "Do you think you still love him?" - she was calm and newly aware, and able to put aside youthful exuberance, grieving, and denial of love to move forward; she recalled the Wordsworth poem (in voice-over), knowing she could gain strength from what remained - the memories of her "splendor in the grass" were now more maturely realized as she was driven away - with a close-up on her face -- "Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind"
Deanie's Realization That Her Love For Bud Had Passed

Deanie Necking with Bud at Waterfall

Reprimands From Deanie's Mother

Hugging Pillow

Deanie in Love With Bud

Recitation of Poem in Classroom

Deanie's Steam Bath

Desperate to Make Love At Grads Dance: "I haven't any pride"


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