HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
Feedback
Lady is a Square, The
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Dark Rendezvous
Silk Road
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Written on the Wind Eat The Rich
Year: 1956
Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, Robert Keith, Grant Williams, Robert J. Wilke, Edward Platt, Harry Shannon, John Larch, Joseph Granby, Roy Glenn, Maidie Norman, William Schallert, Joanne Jordan, Dani Crayne, Dorothy Porter
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: A sports car races through the night, its driver taking swigs from a bottle of cheap booze as he powers on between the oil wells his father owns. He is Kyle Hadley (Robert Stack), heir to a vast fortune, and is extremely angry as he pulls up to the family mansion as the blustery weather whorls the dead Autumn leaves around him, smashing the now-empty bottle and marching indoors. Shortly after there is a gunshot, and a figure stumbles out and collapses onto the driveway. So what happened? To answer that, we must go back in time to the previous year, and the moment Kyle met advertising secretary Lucy Moore (Lauren Bacall)...

For many, Written on the Wind was the greatest melodrama its director Douglas Sirk ever made, the epitome of his signature way with a torrid tale with all the wealth of subtext he could pack into ninety minutes or so of what in later years would be fodder for the television soap operas: some have wondered whether eighties supersoap Dallas owed any debts to this particular effort. What set the Sirk movie apart was that you didn't have to scratch that surface too strongly to see all those emotions and frustrations running wild, and what had set them off in the first place, so one character's latent homosexuality sends him to the bottle, while another's inability to get the man she wants leads her to nymphomania.

No matter that as a case history, this was so over the top it would be hard to take seriously, for we were in the artifice of fifties Hollywood and you could regard the goings-on as sincerely or otherwise as you wished. Certainly there are those who see this as purest camp, yet the signs that Sirk was employing broad parody are few and far between for he appears to take these characters, no matter how close to cartoonish they become, as gravely as their situation would dictate. Therefore the two rich kids who are the most messed up are not sent up as figures of "serves 'em right" fun, even if audiences of the day could revel in scenes of those with privilege having a rotten time of it.

The sister in this terrible twosome is Marylee Hadley, played exceptionally by Dorothy Malone in the role which won her an Oscar. Although her character is exploited and derided as a "tramp" by the others, we can well see the pain of being unable to get close to the man she loves has brought about, and that Malone could make you feel sorry for Marylee as well as chuckle along with her excesses was the mark of a performance to relish. In many ways she is the wisest of the four main characters as she sees all too well the manner in which their personalities and environment has driven them to cause so much misery for each other and for those in their orbit. The fourth character? Mitch Wayne, played by one of Sirk's most preferred actors, Rock Hudson.

In contrast to Stack and Malone pulling out the stops, Hudson and Bacall are so square that we can tell they belong with one another immediately, but the lure of Kyle's money proves too much for Lucy to resist; Mitch may be his best friend from childhood, but that doesn't stop Kyle from taking advantage of whoever or whatever Mitch may want in his life. Yet with Hudson essaying the fine, upstanding chap who has learned he cannot get it all his way, and indeed might not get very much at all his way, this deepens the sorrow that for all the indulgent laughter Written on the Wind has generated latterly, offers more gravity than its reputation might have led you to believe. Not that there aren't scenes which will make you chortle, the most famous one being the intercutting between Marylee's frenzied dancing in her room wearing her underwear while her father is driven to a heart attack on the stairs below, but a lot of the appeal stems from Sirk really meaning what he saw as a sickness at the heart of fifties America, without disregarding how entertaining that can be to watch. Music by Frank Skinner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3208 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: