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Written on the Wind (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)
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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 as a pistol-packin' alcoholic playboy; Lauren Bacall as his long-suffering wife; Rock Hudson as his earthy best friend; and Dorothy Malone (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar© for her performance) as his nymphomaniac sister.
Douglas Sirk puts the opera back into soap opera in this exquisitely baroque melodrama, the epitome of Technicolor gloss. Rock Hudson (as wonderfully wooden as ever) and Lauren Bacall play stalwart examples of altruism, clean living, and good old American ambition, but Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone steal the film as white trash millionaire siblings stewing in self-pity. The plot reads like an episode of Dallas: Texas oil-baron playboy Stack steals good girl Bacall from best friend Hudson while Stack's sister Malone puts her slinky moves on Hudson, the strapping poor boy made good. Toss in impotence, jealousy, alcoholic binges, emotional blackmail, and backstabbing nastiness, mix vigorously with high style and expressionist flourishes, and you've got the most potent melodrama cocktail of the 1950s. Stack twists his arch delivery into the practiced bravado of a boozing womanizer nursing an inferiority complex while Malone sashays and flirts her way through an Oscar-winning performance as a slutty, sassy good-time girl. It's so over the top that it might seem kitschy at first glance, but former theater director Sirk subtly shades his vision in the shadows of film noir and uses the portentous angles and gaudy color to create a vivid, vivacious world of glossy surfaces and social masks cracking under the pressure of responsibility and the pain of lost love. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Before I begin, I will admit that I am a Rock Hudson fan, and he is the only reason why I watched this film. Read morePublished on July 23 2008 by Moodywoody
Sure does, she never looked better in them black courthouse duds ..... perfect control, perfect character modulation ....quite an acting lesson! Read morePublished on July 18 2004
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This movie was groundbreaking in several ways. It can be descibed best as a soap opera. Read more
No one moves a muscle in this film without dramatic music swelling around them- the bright 'nothing looks like that in real life' technocolor lends a hand in decorating this fairly... Read morePublished on April 20 2004 by lady detective
Sirk, at his best. Melodrama, at its best. Acting, over the top. Music, awesome. Thanks for bringing Sirk type melodramas back, Hollywood. Liked "Far from Heaven" too. Read morePublished on July 30 2003 by Margaret Bauer
Uber-melodrama, '50s style, with adultery and scandal packaged in silly circumlocution. Lauren Bacall inexplicably falls for the super-creepy Robert Stack, who simply oozes... Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2002 by DJ Joe Sixpack
Perhaps one of the most implausible set-ups I've ever seen in a film: An intelligent, attractive secretary played by Lauren Bacall becomes, inexplicably, drawn to an unctuous, rich... Read morePublished on June 6 2002 by M. JEFFREY MCMAHON