Written on the Wind (1956)

WrittenOnTheWind2Here is a film that wholly personifies an over the top melodrama or soap opera. Douglas Sirk’s film is full of complicated romances, tense relationships, drunkenness, and murder. Yet when the two stars drive away through the gates of the Hadley Estate everything is resolved (at least to a degree).

It seems that Sirk undoubtedly knew how over the top his story is and he reinforces it with his blatantly loud colors, dramatic music, flashy cars, gaudy interiors, and so on. He embraces a style that seems stereo-typically 1950s Hollywood and he makes it work.

Ironically Rock Hudson gives a good performance and Lauren Bacall is okay but the real drama flows from Robert Stack and especially Dorothy Malone. They are the black sheep of the Hadley family and by the end of the film they definitely deserve the moniker. Except there is more to them then that. Kyle is a tragic figure to be sure and despite her sex-crazed ways there still is a bit of sympathy for Marylee.

I cannot wait to see more Sirk because he seems quintessentially 1950s.

4.5/5 Stars

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