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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Written On The Wind (1956)

The wealthy playboy son (Robert Stack) of an oil millionaire (Robert Keith) marries a secretary (Lauren Bacall) and straightens out his life. But personal demons and the idea that his wife is having an affair with his best friend (Rock Hudson) which is encouraged by his spiteful sister (Dorothy Malone) threaten to destroy his new found happiness. Based on the Robert Wilder novel (reputedly based on the mysterious death of tobacco heir Zachary Smith Reynolds), this is one of the crown jewels in Douglas Sirk's filmography. Hudson and Bacall are the "romantic" leads but the film belongs to Malone and Stack as the self destructive siblings. Born into wealth with everything they could possibly want except a father's acceptance (Stack) and a man she can never have (Malone), their wealth is poisonous rather than their salvation. Russell Metty's luscious and velvety Technicolor images enhance Sirk's baleful look at the American dream gone sour. Malone's Oscar winning performance is really amazing. There are very few actresses as carnal as her and her sad eyed nymphomaniac wears her emotions on her sleeve. The title song was also Oscar nominated. With Grant Williams, Edward Platt, John Larch, Roy Glenn and Maidie Norman.

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