Thanks again to Criterion
Geoffrey P. Smith | ATLANTA, GA USA | 06/28/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Who is/was Douglas Sirk? That's the question I asked when I saw that my favorite dvd production company was releasing this film. Danish born, German raised and transplanted to Hollywood in the late '30s, Sirk was an enormously literate and well-educated man of the theater who knew how to conjure up film magic from what on paper seemed like pretty trashy, unpromising material. 'Written on the Wind' is acknowledged as one of his best, and the story is pure over-the-top nonsense. A lesser director would have made a complete hash of this, but Sirk is a visual virtuoso, and he coaxes great performances from his actors. I was REALLY taken by this film; not only does it look fantastic in this Criterion release, but also because like all worthwhile stuff there are some piercing, not altogether pleasant truths lurking amongst the melodrama. Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone are wildly good, and Sirk's worldly eye cuts right through to some real malaise among those folk who supposedly have it all. A film I would probably not seen but for Criterion's relentless pursuit of lesser-known cinematic gems. The extras on this disc are enjoyable, and they put me onto the excellent book 'Sirk on Sirk', (out of print but purchased through Amazon's ZShops at a great price)."
Qintessential Douglas Sirk Technicolor 1950s Melodrama
purplo | Santa Cruz, California | 02/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall star and Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone support in this quintessential 1950s Technicolor melodrama by the Master, imported German director Douglas Sirk. The plot involves a wealthy oil heir (Stack), the secretary (Bacall) loved by both him and his best friend (Hudson) and a bad-girl sister (Malone, in an Oscar-winning role). But neither the story nor the acting are really very good. What makes this film interesting to watch is the cinematography under Sirk's inspired direction, complete with twisted angles, and the symbolic use of color, mise-en-scene, and mirrors. Edward Platt, "Chief" from TV's "Get Smart" also appears as a doctor. The DVD extras are slight for a Criterion Collection, no featurette or commentary track. There is only a lengthy text discussion that allows you to scroll through descriptions and sometimes stills from all of Sirk's films. This text discussion is well-written and well-researched but will take you a long time to scroll through, and the often redundant images of production stills and lobby cards will make you frustrated. All in all, this DVD is worth watching, though I doubt you would want to view it over and over."
A melodrama for the ages
Ted | 03/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is director Douglas Sirk's masterpiece, a brilliant work of cinema that functions as both a fiery melodrama and a piece of cool, detached irony. It all depends on how much subtext you want to read into this story of an impotent, alcoholic Texas oil baron and his middle-class nemesis. Although Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall are little more than vacant statues filling up cinematic space, Dorothy Malone and Robert Stack more than compensate with rich, over-the-top performances that leave you shaking your head in disbelief. That Sirk could get away with this sort of storytelling audacity within the rigid confines of 1950s Hollywood says much about his skill as an artist, just as it does about his desire to bend film genres to the breaking point. He never quite gets there, though, which is what makes his films so fascinating and multi-layered. This is a flick for both film buffs and casual moviegoers. Not to be missed."
Margaret Bauer | Hoodsport, Washington United States | 07/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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. For those who liked watching Robert Stack each week in "Unsolved Mysteries" and remember "The Untouchables" its a must see. But good story, twisted, dyfunctional, and entertaining. Malone is magnificent as the nympho who lusts for Hudson. No luck there, but Dorothy does steal the show and the oscar that year for best supporting actress. Bacall is her polished best and Hudson's his stoic best. Good cinematography. > especially in DVD. More revivals of the genre most appreciated."