Cinema: Gingerly Satire

Inside Daisy Clover. Like a benevolent and protective barracuda, Hollywood Producer Christopher Plummer eyes the grubby 15-year-old Daisy he has plucked from a honky-tonk beach town, and tells her: "I'm going to make something out of you—money." He soon transforms Daisy (Natalie Wood) into America's Little Valentine, a musical-comedy wonderkin to someone like the young Judy Garland.

Occasionally Daisy quickens with fragments of myth-shattering dialogue, or sudden, almost surrealistic glimpses of the movie colony as a darkly gleaming horror-fantasy controlled by elegant zombies. But Hollywood self-satire is also a corridor of mirrors where movie makers are apt to start cringing at their...

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