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Written on the Wind (The Criterion Collection) (1956)

Rock Hudson , Lauren Bacall , Douglas Sirk  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Written on the Wind (The Criterion Collection) + All That Heaven Allows (The Criterion Collection) + Magnificent Obsession (The Criterion Collection)
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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: 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005BCK0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,763 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Written on the Wind (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

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

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Qintessential Douglas Sirk Technicolor 1950s Melodrama February 4, 2003
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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A melodrama for the ages March 23, 1999
By A Customer
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Am Shocked By the Other Reviews October 17, 2004
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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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A soap opera on the big screen June 11, 2004
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This movie was groundbreaking in several ways. It can be descibed best as a soap opera.
It is the story of a family and their relationship with friend of one of the family members. A man falls in love with the sister of his best friend. Later both of them fall in love with a different woman who they fight over. She later marries one of them but when she becomes pregnant, the husband, believing himself to be sterile, accuses his friend of being the father.
The film deals with subjects rarely (if ever) mentioned in movies of the time and sparked controversey as a result.
The DVD has theatrical trailers for both this film and the film "All That Heaven Allows" which was also directed by Douglas Sirk and released by Criterion as well. There is also a huge presentation and slideshow of many of Douglas Sirk's other films.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure camp, with a capital C January 23, 2005
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great drama.
This is a classic tale about a wealthy and spoiled family from Texas. It involves jealousy and drinking. Sibling rivalry. It's got it all.
Published 1 month ago by M. A. Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Lauren McCall
I saw this movie in black and white back when I was a child. Rock Hudson and Lauren McCall were great, as was Dorothy Malone.
Published 3 months ago by Janet C Morris
2.0 out of 5 stars A Snooze-Fest Soap Operatic Melodrama.
Viewed: 11/13
Rate: 3

11/13: Written on the Wind is a sappy melodramatic picture about silly problems among rich folks. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Austin Somlo
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful love story
You have to think before you rush into marriage... Sometimes there is another person next to you who is waiting for you to say a word.
Published 7 months ago by estelle cazelais
3.0 out of 5 stars So bad it's good...
Douglas Sirk does not shy away from the pulpy atmosphere when constructing this strangely enticing hot mess of a film. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Andrew Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars Written in the Wind--Loved it!
I've watched this movie for years and love the drama that unfolds--interesting to look at the morality of the time the movie was made and todays.
Published 9 months ago by Sandra K. Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best!
I gave it to my sister as a gift because I had heard she was surfing the movie channels to see if and when it might be shown. But no luck there. So I ordered it for her. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Barbara O'Shea
4.0 out of 5 stars The grand heaving climax of 50's heavy breathing..
The probable masterpiece of Douglas Sirk ...the maestro of glossy sudsy emotional romance (usually twined round the manly ((if oddly reticent)) charms of Rock Hudson. Read more
Published 10 months ago by martylee13045x
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 1950's Soap Opera !
Made when Stars were Stars. Rock Hudson and Dorothy Malone gave fabulous performances. This helped Rock Hudson become the Number One male box office star. Read more
Published 12 months ago by K. Nolting
5.0 out of 5 stars Written on the Wind
Another wonderful tape, I also love the Criterion Collection. That is a wonderful addition. This is one of the so called classics I believe.
Published 13 months ago by Darlene I. Jones
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