WRITTEN ON THE WIND CRITERION COLLECTION BLU RAY REVIEW

There is a semi famous song, that released some 20 years ago, went ‘Days go by and still I think of year. Days when I couldn’t live my life without you.’ Dirty Vegas were not thinking of Douglas Sirk’s Technicolor dream WRITTEN ON THE WIND but many a Criterion collector and Sirk fan were. The word on the street is that the excitement has grown to fever pitch. Maybe its for the story, Adapted from the novel of the same name by Robert Wilder. Which sees straight laced secretary Lucy (Lauren Bacall) meeting and falling for rich man Kyle Hadley (Robert Stack). His family are oil and have not only a business named after them, but also a town. However all is not easy. Kyles a drunk and his stealing Lucy from his lifelong best friend Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson) has crushed both men’s dreams. Marlee Hadley (Dorothy Malone in an Oscar winning turn) cant hold anyone together and maybe inadvertently unleashing monstrous levels of fury.

All of this is handled under the sumptuous director of Sirk. Elevating the melodrama with a pin point sense of style and theatrics. He teases the actors into subdued and subtle performances and truly is the only director to make Hudson not be seen as only a beef cake. Words like expressionism also fail to fully add the visual gravity that how great his work reaches in this and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. Tonally perfect, with the canvas of red, white and blues singing (both from the 2K restoration that Criterion have executed and the work of Russell Metty). I broke out the copy of my DVD to match it together and can attest it looks graded better but still matched the light and scope well.

Criterion have pull off their best work so far. This is to honestly say that they have arrived at the point where their releases are matching the expectation and dare I say it, hype that surround them. My only gripe were that the extras are a little staid. Take Acting for Douglas Sirk. A documentary that has done the rounds and is good but not new. Film scholar Patricia White interview is more interesting in ots talk of the melodrama root and route then the focus on WRITTEN ON THE WIND. Finally the essay that accompanies the disc is above average but not without some flaws. Namely its not really breaking new ground and feels a little safe…

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Acting for Douglas Sirk, a 2008 documentary featuring archival interviews with Sirk; actors Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, and Dorothy Malone; and producer Albert Zugsmith
  • New interview with film scholar Patricia White about the film and melodrama
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker and critic Blair McClendon

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