Written On The Wind (1956) by Douglas Sirk

Sunday, February 24, 1985, 8:00 pm

America in the Fifties: Two by Sirk

Written On The Wind (1956) by Douglas Sirk


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

No director within the Hollywood system was ever capable of greater visual wit and audacity than Douglas Sirk. Working with a tradition of melodrama often bordering on the ridiculous, Sirk managed to comment on his characters and their cultural landscape through lavish compositions and a visceral use of symbolism. Sirk’s style influenced an entire generation of filmmakers including Fassbinder, Bertolucci, and Kuchar. Tonight’s program includes two of his greatest American films, each about cultures in the process of breakdown and failure.

Written On The Wind (1956), 99 min., color. Starring Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone — The last days of the robber-baron Hadley dynasty, declining into sterility and death.

The Tarnished Angels (1957), 91 min., b&w, from the novel Pylon by Faulkner. Starring Hudson, Stack, and Malone — A steamy portrait of the flying air-show “gypsies” of the 1930s.

“The place of language in pictures has to be taken by the camera—and by cutting. You have to write with the camera.” — D.S.