For my second movie review for November’s installment of “Random Movies Month” to be featured on Monty and Desiree’s website, I’m reviewing Douglas Sirk’s famous masterpiece “Written On The Wind”. One of my favorite movies, which offers a stellar cast including Lauren Bacall, Rock Hudson, Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone in her Oscar winning performance.
Lauren Bacall is enchanting in this classic melodrama about domestic suffering and heartbreak. The film tells the story of Texas oil tycoon Jasper Hadley and his spoilt and deleterious children Kyle and Marylee. Both siblings are different in comparison. Kyle is a diffident alcoholic while Marylee is a vivacious nymphomaniac with a provocative aura. When Kyle’s best friend Mitch Wayne ( Rock Hudson ) invites Lucy Moore ( Lauren Bacall ) an executive secretary to a conference where Kyle is present, it’s love at first site. Kyle is immediately infatuated by Lucy and tries to win her over by exploiting his money to beguile Lucy. Problems ensue as Mitch is already enamored with Lucy, but Lucy has been inveigled by the appeal of Kyle’s opulence. Shortly after Lucy and Kyle travel to Acapulco and marry contiguously. Euphoric with the marriage Kyle puts his drinking to a cessation. In the meantime, Marylee, who has always loved Mitch is trying her hardest to lure him into a relationship with her, but Mitch views their association as a brother and sister correlation and is not interested in advancing it to an higher level.
Their marriage runs smoothly for a year until Kyle finds out that Lucy is having trouble falling pregnant, and discovers that he might be sterile. Anxious to become a father, but perturbed by the fact that he holds infinitesimal faith in the prospects of parenthood, he returns to drinking and slowly get’s swept into the abyss of dipsomania once again. Eventually Lucy becomes fertile, and annunciates her pregnancy to Kyle. Suspicious of Mitch’s fondness for Lucy, Kyle is convinced that Mitch is the father of the child, and physically assaults Lucy, accusing her of making advances to Mitch. This causes Lucy to fall and results in her having a miscarriage, which leaves her etiolated. After hearing Lucy’s screams from downstairs, Mitch races upstairs to her rescue and orders Kyle to leave. Satiated with the Hadley’s, Mitch plans to leave town and vows to Lucy that he will take her with him once she is fully recuperated. Mayhem arises when Kyle arrives back drunk and maniacal with intentions of shooting Mitch.
Many people consider this movie very soapy, but I think it’s got a perfect blend of melodrama and romance. Douglas Sirk excelled at Melodrama’s, and in my opinion “Written On The Wind” is one of his most commendable efforts. Lauren Bacall delivered one of her most culminating performances in her portrayal of Lucy the long suffering wife of Kyle, and deserved to receive an Oscar, but sadly she was overlooked. However Dorothy Malone attained the Oscar for her performance as Marylee. “Written On The Wind” is a cinematic masterpiece, which is superbly crafted, augmenting the fine art of movie making to perfection.
Humphrey Bogart was unimpressed by the film, and advised Lauren Bacall not to make another one like it.
Douglas Sirk wanted it to be stated that Kyle Hadley was gay in the film. However this could not be mentioned directly due to the Hay’s Code. Nevertheless it is still implied that Hadley is secretly in love with Mitch Wayne.
Lauren Bacall’s Lucy Hadley character is loosely based on Libby Holman.
Quotes from film:
Marylee Hadley: “That was no lady. That was your wife.”
Kyle Hadley: “Where are they going?”
Marylee Hadley: “I don’t know. Where would you take your best friends wife?”
Kyle Hadley: “You’re a real sweet kid.”
Marylee Hadley: “Now, be nice to my brother. One morning, we’ll wake up and be all alone together.”
Kyle Hadley: “I’ll kill him.”
Marylee Hadley: “A whiskey bottle’s about all you’d kill.”
Lauren Bacall: Born Betty Joan Perske on September 16th, 1924 in The Bronx, New York. Died: August 12th, 2014 in New York.
Rock Hudson: Born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. on November 17th, 1925 in Winnetka, Illinois. Died: October 2nd, 1985 in Beverly Hills, California.
Robert Stack: Born
Charles Langford Modini Stack on January 13th, 1919 in Los Angeles, California. Died: May 14th, 2003 in Beverly Hills, California.