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Written on the Wind (The Criterion Collection)

77 customer reviews

$18.05 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 20 left in stock. Sold by MightySilver and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Bathed in lurid Technicolor, melodrama maestro Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind is the stylishly debauched tale of a Texas oil magnate brought down by the excesses of his spoiled offspring. Features an all-star quartet that includes Robert Stack as a pistol-packin' alcoholic playboy; Lauren Bacall as his long-suffering wife; Rock Hudson as his earthy best friend; and Dorothy Malone (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar© for her performance) as his nymphomaniac sister.

Special Features

  • The Melodrama Archive: A Douglas Sirk filmography featuring rare production and publicity stills, behind-the-scenes photos and vintage lobby cards
  • Exclusive liner notes by noted film theorist Laura Mulvey

Product Details

  • Actors: Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, Robert Keith
  • Directors: Douglas Sirk
  • Writers: George Zuckerman, Robert Wilder
  • Producers: Albert Zugsmith
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005BCK0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,636 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Written on the Wind (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "purplo" on February 4, 2003
Format: DVD
Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall star and Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone support in this quintessential 1950s Technicolor melodrama by the Master, imported German director Douglas Sirk. The plot involves a wealthy oil heir (Stack), the secretary (Bacall) loved by both him and his best friend (Hudson) and a bad-girl sister (Malone, in an Oscar-winning role). But neither the story nor the acting are really very good. What makes this film interesting to watch is the cinematography under Sirk's inspired direction, complete with twisted angles, and the symbolic use of color, mise-en-scene, and mirrors. Edward Platt, "Chief" from TV's "Get Smart" also appears as a doctor. The DVD extras are slight for a Criterion Collection, no featurette or commentary track. There is only a lengthy text discussion that allows you to scroll through descriptions and sometimes stills from all of Sirk's films. This text discussion is well-written and well-researched but will take you a long time to scroll through, and the often redundant images of production stills and lobby cards will make you frustrated. All in all, this DVD is worth watching, though I doubt you would want to view it over and over.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This is director Douglas Sirk's masterpiece, a brilliant work of cinema that functions as both a fiery melodrama and a piece of cool, detached irony. It all depends on how much subtext you want to read into this story of an impotent, alcoholic Texas oil baron and his middle-class nemesis. Although Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall are little more than vacant statues filling up cinematic space, Dorothy Malone and Robert Stack more than compensate with rich, over-the-top performances that leave you shaking your head in disbelief. That Sirk could get away with this sort of storytelling audacity within the rigid confines of 1950s Hollywood says much about his skill as an artist, just as it does about his desire to bend film genres to the breaking point. He never quite gets there, though, which is what makes his films so fascinating and multi-layered. This is a flick for both film buffs and casual moviegoers. Not to be missed.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stalwart Kreinblaster on October 17, 2004
Format: DVD
This is one of the most clever, metaphorical, and stunning movies ever made. I have not seen many other films that are this flawless. Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, and Lauren Bacall are all perfectly cast - Robert Stack in particular is very effective (and believable) as this spoiled son of a texas oil hancho who turns to alcohol for his failed personal relationships (impotence). If you are a fan of Fassbinder, Almodovar, or John Waters you know just how inspirational Douglas Sirk's film is - truly a masterpiece.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Moser on January 23, 2005
Format: DVD
This turgid potboiler is among the best...and of course the best are done by Douglas Sirk. The movie really belongs to Dorothy Malone, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Marylee Hadley, the over-tanned, over-bleached, boozy, slutty daughter of an oil tycoon. Marylee's in love with her brother Kyle's best friend, Mitch (Rock Hudson), and will try practically anything to trap him. Mitch is in love with Lucy (Lauren Bacall). Lucy is married to Kyle (Robert Stack), but is in love with Mitch. Marylee is insanely jealous that Mitch doesn't want her. Kyle wants children, but there seems to be a problem - Kyle is sterile...or so he thinks. Everyone's always dressed to the nines and they all drink and drive all the time. The actresses all wear gorgeous 50s couture, and look fabulous - even if their 50s eyebrows are twice the size of the mens. Meanwhile, the viperous Marylee is telling the drunken Kyle to keep an eye on his wife and Mitch. "You're a filthy liar," he says, to which she replies, "I'm filth. Period." And she's right. As she performing a very tawdry mambo in her room, she is peeling out of her evening gown and into a flame-colored peignoir, kicking up her heels and caressing herself...while on the stairs outside her room, her father is dying of a heart attack. When it is revealed that Lucy is pregnant, Kyle presumes it's Mitch's and beats Lucy to a pulp, causing her to miscarry. Kyle lurches off in a sodden, violent haze, returning later to kill Mitch. Marylee shows up, and there is a struggle for the gun. Kyle is fatally wounded. Marylee threatens to pin the death on Mitch unless he agrees to marry her. But on the witness stand, she recants, and the death is ruled accidental. Mitch and Lucy depart to happier, greener pastures, and we end with a shot of Marylee, now the queen of Hadley Oil, in her butchest Eve Arden lady-boss suit, as she almost-lasciviously strokes and caresses a miniature oil derrick beneath a portrait of her father. Pure camp, with a capital C.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey P. Smith on June 27, 2001
Format: DVD
Who is/was Douglas Sirk? That's the question I asked when I saw that my favorite dvd production company was releasing this film. Danish born, German raised and transplanted to Hollywood in the late '30s, Sirk was an enormously literate and well-educated man of the theater who knew how to conjure up film magic from what on paper seemed like pretty trashy, unpromising material. 'Written on the Wind' is acknowledged as one of his best, and the story is pure over-the-top nonsense. A lesser director would have made a complete hash of this, but Sirk is a visual virtuoso, and he coaxes great performances from his actors. I was REALLY taken by this film; not only does it look fantastic in this Criterion release, but also because like all worthwhile stuff there are some piercing, not altogether pleasant truths lurking amongst the melodrama. Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone are wildly good, and Sirk's worldly eye cuts right through to some real malaise among those folk who supposedly have it all. A film I would probably not seen but for Criterion's relentless pursuit of lesser-known cinematic gems. The extras on this disc are enjoyable, and they put me onto the excellent book 'Sirk on Sirk', (out of print but purchased through Amazon's ZShops at a great price).
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Written on the Wind (The Criterion Collection)
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