It's a great picture, but I kinda hated it. Not just because the characters are detestable (I even hated the "good guy") but because the whole time and culture were disgusting: the fancy clothes and cars, rich white people drinking booze constantly, and an oppressive 1950's culture; how in the hell people today can feel nostalgic about is beyond me. Oh, and the theme song is nauseating too. Otherwise a great picture.
Has the most mysterious ending I've yet seen in Sirk, Malone mimicking her father's portrait, a pose with the model oil tower; the closing of a gate--we the viewers are no longer permitted to take witness to this world of psychological horror. What a hellish atmosphere it is, bedrooms especially, those id-riddled arenas.
The cinematography looks great, and from the start it felt like it was going to be a favorite, but it never quite reached the heights I thought it was heading... I don't know a weird feeling after this one, I know that it was good, but not one I'll be quick to return to.
Love how, when Stack's character finds out about his "weakness", Sirk has the shadows cast by passers-by outside flit across Stack's face as he ponders the news, then he exits past the boy riding the coin-operated pony (obvious phallic symbol). Devastating and subtle at the same time.
One of the most self aware melodramas ever made. Sirk both celebrates and criticizes American culture flaunting artificiality and vulgarity every chance he gets creating a satire that will allude most viewers on first watch. Between the films gaudy decor and the long list of scandalous plot points the end effect is something Brechtian calling attention to what's fake only to further engage the viewer. Masterpiece.
Like all of Sirk's American films in the 50s. WotW is a victim of its own success. When poeple who didn't live in that time think of America after the war, they think of an underlying current of dread and malaise under the material wealth and conformity -an opinion largely formed by Sirk's films, along with Nicholas Ray's. Sirks' films seem somehow less transgressive than they were at the time of their release.
The conflicts are worthy of an epic but Sirk doesn't harp on what he's already said. Nonetheless I think the second half could have been more sharp. Everything that comes after Stack learning of his "weakness" is a little weak.