Saturday, October 17, 2009

Written on the Wind (1956) (2nd time)

Alcoholic playboy Kyle Hadley marries the woman secretly loved by his poor but hard-working best friend, who in turn is pursued by Kyle's seductive sister. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:

Best Supporting Actor: Robert Stack
Best Supporting Actress: Dorothy Malone (WINNER)
Best Original Song

I don't even know what to say about this one. It didn't get better with a second viewing; it just seemed shorter (which I guess is good). It's a typical Douglas Sirk / 1950s drama, so it has lots of soap opera, some luxurious settings and a couple of interesting performances to analyze. Interestingly enough, the focus of the film is not on the big Hollywood names, as Bacall and mostly Rock Hudson are really ignorable. The spotlight belongs to the two f&cked up brother and sister, played by Stack and Dorothy Malone.
Robert Stack (who has the screentime of a leading character) plays it too hard and his performance looks ridiculous to a modern audience. Some drunk scenes are fine, but as the screenplay gets more and more cheesy drama, he falls for the cliche and the character becomes a vehicle for unwanted humor. Dorothy Malone on the other hand has her moments of greatness. I admit I was seduced by her look (even more the 2nd time) and Sirk knew exactly how to play it. It's not an easy screenplay to read, but for the most of it: she does it justice (more about her in this month's Smackdown) and definitely brings freshness & fun everytime she's around.
My rating for the film: 5.5/10. Despite all the cliches, it's still quite watchable, with Malone being the strangely comforting element of the film.

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