Friday, August 14, 2009

A lot of film watching and WRITTEN ON THE WIND (96)

I'm sort of one-track mind when it comes to my multitude of slightly geeky obsessions. I can't dig in to each and every one at once, I just don't have the time to at once be watching films all the time, reading books with every spare moment, filling my ears with some new tune. It would drive me just a bit crazier than I actually am.

Thus after two or three months of near mind-bending musical obsession (the number of albums I've accrued in the last three months is sort of nauseating, honestly) I'm completely spent on music. The gears of my brain have turned and the films that I'd lost interest in are all of sudden the only thing I want to be involved with. I'm still listening to it, but all of a sudden the silence of a warm summer day seems pretty nice.

That said, now I'm checking my Netflix queue twenty-five times a day, day-dreaming about wandering movie aisles at my favorite video store, spending hours each day burning through DVDs. Sure, I mindlessly select my next musical choice at my coffee shop, barely able to muster the energy to fill the empty air with a new set of tunes, but, when it really comes down to it, films my big passion, thus I'm glad my chore-wheel of obsession has flipped back on over to a more filmic bent.

Just thought you should know.

Written on the Wind (96) was a strange, sordid movie about oil magnates, their best friends, and the tawdry ladies of Texas. Here's a few things I wrote down about it:


Yup, the voice behind Unsolved Mysteries once had a promising film career and he's the first boozy bastard you see in this film, cruising between oil derricks in a brilliant yellow sports car, rye whiskey in hand. Sure, I'm more used to his creepy voice announcing the fate of some murdered Midwestern, but it's nice to see him in an actual acting role.


Yup, Robert Stack is really creepy. All bulging eyes and touchy hands and oily charm, Robert Stack is a creepster. Hell, he makes Rock Hudson look downright huggable.

3. Rich people are hussies/boozers/tramps.

I think Douglas Sirk hates rich people. His films are full of mindless folks who are just loaded to the gills. Manipulative women, abusive, gun-tottin' men, all aimed at being rich, staying rich, and looking good while doing it. If you're rich in a Sirk film, you're probably a nasty person, hell bent on bringing down any one who even shows of a bit of moral regard. Go get 'em Sirk!

4. Old school fights are the best.

Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, and some local yahoo brawling in a podunk bar? Awesome. Chairs breaking, fists flyin' - there's just nothing like it today.

5. Is Texas always this sordid?

Have you ever seen a movie where Texas isn't a cesspool of big-haired bimbos and drunken oil magnates? I have not. I'm going to be road-trippin' through the South some point in the near future and I think there will be severe disappointment when I arrive in TX with a ten-gallon hat on a white horse, and find myself staring at dusty plains, decrepit housing and heat instead of drunken millionaires and flaming derricks.

6. Douglas Sirk loves a happy ending.

This film ends with a drunken suicide, a blackmailing attempt, a seedy bimbo turned evil, and the dissolution of a family fortune, and somehow Douglas Sirk still strangely make it a pretty happy ending. Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall (an almost alien-looking Lauren Bacall), the unwitting pawns of the Hadley Oil Family, end up happy and driving off in to the sunset. Take that rich folk! We poor lads and ladies always end up happiest!

This wasn't nearly as enjoyable as All That Heaven Allows (95) but it's still an attractive bit of mid-50s melodrama. I highly recommend.

Monday: Do The Right Thing (97)

1 comment:

Mom and Dad said...

You want rich Texans and Rock Hudson? Not to mention Liz Taylor and James Dean - try watching Giant - oh it is a three hour movie