Written on the Wind (1956) is one of classical Hollywood's most striking films and
ranks among Douglas Sirk's finest achievements. An intense melodrama about
an alcoholic playboy who marries the woman his best friend secretly loves,
the film is highly stylised, psychologically complex, and marked by Sirk's
characteristic charting of the social realities of 1950s America.
This first single study of Written on the Wind reassesses the film's artistic
heritage and place within the wider framework of contemporary American
culture. Incorporating original archival research, Peter William Evans examines
the production, promotion and reception of Written on the Wind, exploring its
themes - of time, memory, space, family, class and sex - as well as its brilliance
of form. Its vivid aesthetics, powerful performances and profound treatment
of human emotions, make Written on the Wind a masterpiece of Hollywood
PETER WILLIAM EVANS is Emeritus Professor of Film at Queen Mary, University of London. His publications include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1996), Luis Bunuel: New Readings (co-edited, 2004), and Carol Reed (2005).
Acknowledgments .- Overture: The Wind .- 1 Production and Promotion .- 2 Realism, Modernism and Melodrama .- 3 Mise en scene .- 4 Dorothy Malons/Marylee: 'Enough devil in her...' .- 5 Lauren Bacall: 'A lady, a beautiful lady' .- 6 Rock Hudson and Robert Stack: Cain and Abel .- Coda: The River .- Synopsis .- Notes .- Credits .- Bibliography.