The film director Douglas Sirk, whose reputation blossomed in the generation after his 1959 retirement from Hollywood filmmaking, was born Hans Detlef Sierck on April 26, 1900, in Hamburg, Germany to a journalist. Both of his parents were Danish, and the future director would make movies in German, Danish and English. His reputation, which was breathed to life by the French nouvelle vague critiques who developed the “auteur” (author) theory of film criticism, casts him one of the cinema’s great ironists. In his American and European films, his characters perceive their lives quite differently than does the movie audience viewing “them” in a theater. Dealing with love, death and societal constraints, his films often depend on melodrama, particularly the high suds soap operas he lensed for producer Ross Hunter in the 1950s: Magnificent Obsession (1954), All That Heaven Allows (1955), and his last American film, Imitation of Life (1959). (Sirk’s favorite American film was the Western… read more
If contemporary TV audiences knew Douglas Sirk (and Max Ophüls) and read "1984", the world would be a better place.
Still no Captain Lightfoot ? It’s another masterpiece by the most ironic of the great Hollywood smugglers, a treatise on artificiality in the guise of a swashbuckling fest — turning space into a dreamlike network of traps, simulacra and decoys — whose mise en scène is as elegant, perverse, precise and definitely uncanny as it can get.