In the 1930’s, a First World War flying ace named Roger Schumann is reduced to making appearances on the crash-and-burn circuit of stunt aerobatics. His family are forced to live like dogs while Shumann pursues his only true love, the airplane. When Burke Devlin, a reporter, shows up on the scene to do a “whatever happened to” story on Shumann, he is repulsed by the war hero’s diminished circumstances and, conversely, drawn to his stunning wife, LaVerne. —IMDb
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
In which Sirk reveals the world to be a cruel, gray universe of laughing masks - and we love him for it. Sirk's genius is expressed again in the way he utilizes Rock Hudson, casting this masculine ideal as a completely ineffectual protagonist. Even bereft of his usual Technicolor stylings, "Tarnished" displays Sirk's mastery of the Cinemascope format: the extra wide angles are employed as effectively during intimate bedroom talk as they are in the film's high-flying air races. For all the story's strum and drang, Sirk always has a knack for zeroing in on the most human moments: here it's a frightened child trapped on a carnival ride, screaming to be let out as his life is irrevocably changed by events beyond his control. Like the best of Sirk's work, "Angels" is an incredibly sad film, but that's also what makes it so memorable.
A year after Sirk's Written On The Wind, three of the stars of that film were reunited for another project again set in the Deep South. This time we're in New Orleans during the Depression for an adaptation of a William Faulkner novel. Hudson is the journalist sniffing out a story amongst the daring stunt pilots and getting involved with Stack and his wife Malone. Arguably Sirk's bleakest film and one of his finest..