Bathed in lurid Technicolor, melodrama maestro Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind is the stylishly debauched tale of a Texas oil magnate brought down by the excesses of his spoiled offspring. Features an all-star quartet that includes Robert Stack, Lauren Bacall, Rock Hudson and Dorothy Malone.
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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.
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.
The greatest irony of all is that by subversively attacking the norms of 1950's oversaturated melodramas, Sirk created what is arguably the best of its product. And unlike his other indelible masterpieces, "Written on the Wind" dares to discard the pathos behind the Jane Wyman persona by opting to delve into the Stack and Malone world of blatant camp. It's garish and cruel, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
Almost a parody of Giant, which was released in the same year. But Sirk's film is more entertaining, funny, beautiful, moving and timeless than the awful, serious mess it is compared to. Not Sirk's absolute masterpiece, but it is certainly a great film, and an excellent example of Sirk's unique style.
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.