Discography   Taken from Ultimate DVD #12

Winona getting all spooky in Lost Souls


Winona: The Life and Soul

We look at the life and work of one of Hollywood's most accomplished young actresses, Winona Ryder from Lucas right up to the spooky Hollywood hit Lost Souls


Feature by Anwar Brett

Although still only 29 Winona Ryder has packed a lot into her 15-year movie career.

She may look just as waif-like as when she emerged in films like Lucas, Square Dance and particularly Beetlejuice, but there is clearly a steely resolve to her and an ambition at odds with the image of a free spirit brought up with counter culture values in a hippy era commune, which for a while she was.

But that is to ignore the fact that young Winona Horowitz's parents were politically active intellectuals for whom a natural curiosity about the world and a love of reading were crucial, a fact that may help account for the 'classical' movies Ryder has made intermittently.

For a while, though, she was an icon for girls who didn't quite fit in - a theme echoed from her own youth, one suspects - as well as a pin-up for the teenage males beguiled by her delicate yet feisty charm. Heathers (1989) established her as a talent to watch, and was a dark and dazzling tale of high school cliques, blown apart - literally - by sexy outsider Christian Slater.

Great Balls

Ryder next played Jerry Lee Lewis's teenage bride in the damp squib Great Balls of Fire! (1989), before starring opposite then boyfriend Johnny Depp in the post modern fairy-tale Edward Scissorhands (1990). Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael (1990) flopped at the box office, but she seemed about to graduate to a new mature level of roles when Francis Ford Coppola cast her in The Godfather Part III. But shortly before she was due to start Ryder withdrew from the film, claiming to be suffering from exhaustion.

Rumours of a lingering bitterness over this were only lifted when Ryder worked for Coppola in 1992 in his vivid re-telling of Bram Stoker's Dracula. She had, prior to that, enjoyed some commercial success alongside Cher in Mermaids (1990) - and appeared in the video for Cher's rendition of The Shoop Shoop Song - as well as re-validating her indie-cool credentials by starring in a segment of Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth (1991).

If Dracula introduced Ryder to a bona fide period film for the first time she obviously developed a taste for them. The languid House of the Spirits (1993) came next, but she looked as uncomfortable as everybody else in a deeply flawed film. She was far more assured in The Age of Innocence (1993), directed by Martin Scorsese, as one part of a powerful romantic triangle. Holding her own alongside Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer, she made enough of an impression to pick up her first Oscar nomination for the role.

Making Quilts

Next came Little Women (1994), a very watchable adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel, before getting right up to date with the Generation X tale Reality Bites (1994) with Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo. How to Make an American Quilt (1995) was an earnest feminist ramble through the wisdom of different generations, while Boys (1996) was a return to the high school setting she had occupied a decade before.

Taking part in Al Pacino's fascinating documentary about one of Shakespeare's best known plays, Looking for Richard (1996) Ryder showed once again that her love of, and talent, for classic roles was undimmed. Proving this further she made an impressive contribution to The Crucible (1996), starring opposite Daniel Day-Lewis once more.

Director Nicholas Hytner admits he was surprised by the actress when he met her, so that any doubts he may have had about the suitability in the role were quickly forgotten. "Winona's someone who loves to be pushed and challenged the whole time," he says, "she wants constant communication and she's constantly in dialogue with her director. She totally responds to being pushed hard. I think her performance in the film shows that she's a better actress than the roles she normally gets cast in."

Winona Ryder Discography


Region 1

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Alien Resurrection Fox
Autumn in New York MGM
Beetlejuice Warner
Being John Malkovich USA
Bram Stoker's Dracula Columbia
Celebrity Disney
Edward Scissorhands Fox
Girl, Interrupted Columbia
How to Make an American Quilt Universal
Little Women Columbia
Reality Bites Universal

Region 2

Buy these Winona Ryder DVDs (and videos) at BlackStar!

Alien Resurrection Fox
Beetlejuice Warner
Being John Malkovich Universal
Bram Stoker's Dracula Columbia
Edward Scissorhands Fox
Girl, Interrupted Columbia
Little Women Columbia

Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Images © New Line
Not for reproduction

Get up to date with Winona Ryder's career in Ultimate DVD #12

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