Having read over and over Fassbinder's comments on the Sirk film, in his essay "Six Films by Douglas Sirk," I always find them extremely strange.
We can understand what Rock sees in her. He is a tree trunk. He is quite right to want to be inside her.
The world around is evil. ... There are no men in the film apart from Rock, in that respect arm chairs and glasses are more important.
The decor is not important at the expense of the characters. There are a variety of different types of men in the story, and the world is not "evil." What about the world of Rock's/Ron's friends, who quickly and naturally accept the potential for Rock and Jane as a couple, as does her doctor/friend, Dan? This is in contrast to Fassbinder's film, in which the worlds of both Ali and Emmi seem pretty "evil," to use his word.
Jane tells Rock that she is going to leave him, because of her idiotic children and so on. Rock doesn't protest too much, he still has Nature, after all.
No, that's not why he doesn't fight for her more than he does. He wants her to find the strength to renounce her social circle and come back to him of her own will, not because he "still has Nature," whatever that means.
Later on, Jane goes back to Rock because she has headaches, which is what happens to us all if we don't fuck once in a while. But now she's back there's still no happy ending. If anyone has made their love life that complicated for themselves they won't be able to live happily afterwards.
He must have seen a different ending to the film than I did. The part about her feeling driven to go back to him was not just about sex but rather what is right for her to the core of her personhood. That's what earns the ending as something that ought to happen despite the social pressures and "Hollywood ending" conventions.
The spectator's intense feeling is not a result of identification, but of montage and music. This is why we come out of these movies [Sirk's] feeling somewhat dissatisfied.
What? Speak for yourself. And this is someone considered to be a Sirk acolyte?
She may well be so stereotyped already that in Rock's house she will miss the style of life she is used to and which has become her own. That's why the happy ending is not one. Jane fits into her own home better than she fits into Rock's.
She doesn't fit into "her own home" at all, as it's the empty shell of her past family life—vacant following her husband's death and her children's departure—and she absolutely needs a change at the most basic level of her being. Rock has completely adapted the old mill to make it a place where they could begin a new life together.
I'm not here to attack Fassbinder, but to be frank I believe he completely misunderstood Sirk's film. The above is quite revealing about his world view in which people can't adapt or find happiness together, to the extent that it upends his understanding of someone else's story.