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Written on the Wind [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1956]

Release Date:06/19/2001
In the hands of director Douglas Sirk, melodrama has never had a finer moment as evidenced by this disc. The print is presented widescreen (anamorphic) with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The soundtrack is in Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono). Sirk's carefully orchestrated color scheme is well rendered by this impeccable print. There are a few extras included as well (though no commentary track, which would have been an nice inclusion). "The Melodrama Archive" is a text and photo biography/filmography of Sirk divided into three parts: "Germany," "America," and "Universal." It features hundreds of production photos/lobby cards and is a great capsulation of his career. The disc is completed with trailers for the Sirk films Written on the Wind and All That Heaven Allows. Though low on extras, this is still a commendable disc.

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    Special Features

    • Widescreen digital transfer, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
    • The Melodrama Archive: annotated filmography of director Douglas Sirk with hundreds of behind-the-scenes production photos, plus vintage lobby cards
    • Original theatrical trailers for "Written on the Wind" and "All That Heaven Allows"
    • English subtitles
    • Liner notes by noted film theorist Laura Mulvey


    Written on the Wind
    Perhaps the definitive Douglas Sirk production, Written on the Wind is based on the novel by Robert Wilder. The story revolves around the Hadleys, a wealthy but thoroughly debauched family of Texas oil millionaires. Robert Stack is self-destructive alcoholic Kyle Hadley, while Dorothy Malone won an Oscar for her equally vivid potrayal of Kyle's nymphomaniac sister Marylee. Kyle manages to win beautiful, level-headed advertising executive Lucy Moore (Lauren Bacall) away from his best friend, virile Hadley Oil geologist Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson), but Lucy soon comes to regret her decision to marry into the hell-on-earth Hadley family. When Lucy becomes pregnant, Kyle assumes that Mitch is the father, leading to a maelstrom of fever-pitch emotionalism and stark tragedy. Before he quite knows what is happening, Mitch is on trial for murder; the one person who can clear him is the craven Marylee, who demands Mitch's sexual favors as the price for her testimony. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Rock Hudson
      Rock Hudson - Mitch Wayne
    • Lauren Bacall
      Lauren Bacall - Lucy Moore Hadley
    • Robert Stack
      Robert Stack - Kyle Hadley
    • Dorothy Malone
      Dorothy Malone - Marylee Hadley
    • Grant Williams
      Grant Williams - Biff Miley

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.