The rich oil family with problems of alcohol, free sex and a death down the long, winding stairs makes this essential soap opera drama and someone must clearly have seen this when they made "Dallas". Not sure one can say any characters are that bright though but the drama is surely fastpaced and with an actual (almost) ending for all characters which is more than most long-running soaps ever get.
The ugliest,most excessive Sirk is also the most important historically. It's a catalogue of fraught melodrama and views like a scene-by-scene playbook of every future soap series , Dallas and beyond. In the 40s Adorno and Horkheimer had spoken of The Movies' "slotting in of cliche after cliche" The 50s Sirk film sets a template for decades to come - but with extraordinary force ,and astonishing acting from all.
I'll likely praise Rock Hudson until my dying days but I was surprised revisiting Written on the Wind that Robert Stack manages to provide an even greater performance with a delightfully complex and frustrated character. full review here: https://letterboxd.com/matthew_roberts/film/written-on-the-wind/1/
There is a darkness that permeates through the entire film, from the opening scene to the characters and even through to the colour palette used. With that kind of edge, perhaps a rarity in 1950s Hollywood, I was expecting to get more out of it, but didn't. There were a few good scenes here & there, some great performances from Bacall & Hudson, but overall the film tries to be edgy & sharp, but feels a little bland.
Wow Robert Stack really had that dead eye thing down didn’t he ? But bananas in a woman’s bedroom?? What was he trying to imply? Colour coding is mad on this one, Almodovar clearly loved them. Men fall in love very quickly in these films, a woman just has to walk into a room pretty much and they’re all falling over like nine pins. Sirk criticises the emptiness of the rich but clearly loves the life.
"Douglas Sirk’s resplendent melodrama, too often taken as camp, is as serious as cinema gets." -Mubi's take on the film. Honestly I also found this campy as hell. Pretty alright film, even if I found most of the characters to be pretty intolerable. From a technical standpoint it's perfectly competent though.
Found this film a bit hard to enjoy without the virtuous or redeemed Sirk characters. I don't fully understand Lucy Moore's motivation or attraction to a man with an inhuman ability to avoid blinking. This damaged family and their appalling taste were still engrossing. Bacall made Moore interesting.