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
So overshadowed by other Sirk's, but definitely one of his major and most memorable accomplishments. To see Stanwyck and MacMurray once more after "Double Indemnity" is a blessing. A love story of sorts, a visit from ghosts past, the opportunity for redemption, or how the "American Family" and the "American Dream" are not necessarily synonymous.
The American man is as trapped by postwar society as the women, it seems. Cliff is objectified even by his own family as naught but a breadwinner, and when he is tempted back into life outside his deadening routine, his children react as much against the disruption as they do loyalty to their mother. Black and white emotional remove replaces lush, visceral color. Cliff does not even have the luxury of a breakdown.
Wow, I didn't enjoy most of this movie but the last minutes made up for it. Douglas Sirk's subversion is a lot more subtle and tragic than his other movies because at least the main character had a chance! Its the children in this that cause the fall. Always look out for the children.
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City of Lights, City of Angels, Los Angeles' festival of new French films, is on through the weekend and Anna Karina will be there on