Part of Weekend Classics: Douglas Sirk.
The Technicolor expressionism of Douglas Sirk reached a fever pitch with this operatic tragedy, which finds the director pushing his florid visuals and his critiques of American culture to their subversive extremes. Alcoholism, nymphomania, impotence and deadly jealousy — these are just some of the toxins coursing through a massively wealthy, degenerate Texan oil family. When a sensible secretary (Lauren Bacall) has the misfortune of marrying the clan’s neurotic scion (Robert Stack), it drives a wedge between him and his lifelong best friend (Rock Hudson) that unleashes a maelstrom of psychosexual angst and fury. Featuring an unforgettably debauched, Oscar-winning supporting performance by Dorothy Malone and some of Sirk’s most eye-popping mise-en-scène, WRITTEN ON THE WIND is as perverse a family portrait as has ever been splashed across the screen. (Synopsis courtesy of Criterion Collection)
“In countless ways visible and invisible, Sirk's sly subversion skewed American popular culture, and helped launch a new age of irony.” —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times “Any time a film scholar tries to steer a Sirk conversation into dry academicism, remind them that, in WRITTEN ON THE WIND, a character rhumbas her father to death.” —Eric Henderson, Slant