Ongoing Series The Revamp

The Revamp #6: The Natural

The Natural

Original Cast and Crew

The Crew

Director: Barry Levinson was on quite a lucky spree in the 1980s and 1990s for both film critics and film junkies alike. After Natural, he went on to direct the Academy Award-winning Rain Man in 1988, where he won an Oscar for Best Director. A few years later he pleased the ‘popcorn flick’ crew with his 1992 cult film Toys starring Robin Williams. Needless to say, Levinson enjoys variety in his work and his life.

Writer: Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry brought Bernard Malamud’s novel to life when they adapted the screenplay for The Natural. While neither men had anything quite like Natural under their belts since Towne went on to write In the Company of Spies (1999) and The Recruit (2003) and In the Company of Spies (1999). As for Dusenberry, his 1972 Hail was his only other notable film.

Composer: There are not many who grew up in the 80s or 90s who did not hum one of Randy Newman’s melodies or songs. From the Toy Story series (1995-2010) to James and the Giant Peach (1996) and beyond, his only other comparison would be John Williams and Danny Elfman. His score in Natural is nothing short of a classic Newman score; simple, catchy, and full of instrumental glee.

Cinematographer: Caleb Deschanel’s camera work was one of the more enjoyable elements of The Natural, and it is a skill that has served several of his films since. Using his eye for lighting and attention to details for each time period he works with and in, he went on to be the DP for the 2000 film, The Patriot, and the controversial 2004 film The Passion of the Christ.

The Cast

Robert Redford is not only an iconic name for his various acting roles (which range from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) to Pete’s Dragon (2016)) but for his various roles behind the camera as a director and a producer as well. For over a decade he has also had a role with The Sundance Film Festival, which he has been quite proud of. While Roy Hobbs is not his most notable character, it is certainly one that used Redford’s looks and “All American Boy” charm to its advantage.

Glenn Close’s role as Iris Gaines was good, like several of her roles over the thirty plus year career she has had in Hollywood. However, most my age and a little older and younger would agree that her iconic role as Cruella De Ville in the 101 Dalmatians (1996) franchise, her voice as Tarzan’s adopted mother, Kala, in Tarzan (1999), and her recent role in the Oscar-nominated film The Wife (2017) all surpass Gaines.  

Whether your introduction to Robert Duvall was Max Mercy in The Natural, his earlier role as Tom Hagen in the The Godfather (1972), or his later role as ‘Gus’ McCrae in Lonesome Dove (1989), his diverse but equally solid range of characters (both lead and secondary) have left an impact not only on audiences and the box office, but on other actors and crew. While he is a bit of a questionable character in The Natural, he is still one of Duvall’s many loveable roles.

No stranger to the role of a femme fatale, Kim Basinger’s role as the sultry and troubled Memo Paris prepared and served her well in later roles such as 1989’s Batman, and her 1997 role in L.A. Confidential. While Basinger has not been the top billing name in a while, her looks and seductive and sharp dialogue continue to arouse the attention of filmgoers, both old and new.

As a Cleveland native, it is not unusual for Darren McGavin’s face to grace the television each and every December, due to his iconic role as Ralphie’s father in the 1983 classic, A Christmas Story. While that role is delightfully rugged, it is far different from the role of  Gus Sands, and later his role in the 1995 film Billy Madison. Cunning, mischievous, and greedy, Sands is not only a textbook con man, but he is also as dangerous and sleazy as Ralphie’s dad was thrifty.

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