Douglas Sirk

Discussion and info on people in film, ranging from directors to actors to cinematographers to writers.

Moderator: DarkImbecile

Post Reply
User avatar
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:21 pm

Re: Douglas Sirk

#101 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Thu May 28, 2020 7:56 pm

soundchaser wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 6:49 pm
Although how much the Sirk of that book is to be trusted is a big question...
While I agree, I tend to take most of Sirk's statements of biography to be on the whole factual (sadly there's been no critical biography to establish a source-based narrative). There's no reason to believe after all that he didn't have a large role in shaping this film, made in a year where he completed three (!) films, after breaking his leg, when said film was based on prior material.

User avatar
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:56 pm
Location: England

Re: Douglas Sirk

#102 Post by Altair » Thu May 28, 2020 8:44 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 4:19 pm
For those interested, Interlude has a fairly strong copy on YT for free.
Thanks for pointing this out twbb, I just downloaded it and I'm looking forward to seeing it for the first time.

User avatar
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Douglas Sirk

#103 Post by Feego » Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:52 am

I just watched There's Always Tomorrow, and the thing that immediately struck me is how it comes across as an absurd flipside to the "Father Knows Best" style sitcoms of the day. The early scene of Fred MacMurray (ironically a future TV dad himself) coming home only to be flatly snubbed by everyone, including the cook, was hilarious. Joan Bennett has a way of seeming warm while being cold and stilted, a perfect model-wife who is endlessly understanding and never jealous. That would seem to be ideal for MacMurray's stepping out, but in some ways it's even more disturbing than if she suspected his flirtations. Her failure to see anything wrong speaks to the unchanging monotony of their marriage. Barbara Stanwyck brings such a glowing presence to the film that it's easy to see why MacMurray is so attracted to her and why his kids are horrified by her, immediately perceiving her as a threat to their normal existence. Speaking of the kids, has anyone ever written a scholarly piece on monstrous children in Sirk's melodramas? Between this, All That Heaven Allows, Written on the Wind, and Imitation of Life, Sirk's output in this period is like an ongoing birth control ad. It's actually fun, though, to see William Reynolds and Gigi Perreau returning as brother and sister after their nicer turns in Has Anybody Seen My Gal. Reynolds in particular has a knack for playing guys you just want to punch in the face, as evidenced by his even more hateful turn as Jane Wyman's hellspawn in All That Heaven Allows. Russell Metty's black-and-white cinematography seems drab at first compared to his glossy Technicolor extravaganzas, but it works again in evoking TV sitcoms (albeit with much more elaborate framing). There's a shot toward the end in which MacMurray looks out the window of his business studio in utter hopelessness while a toy robot walks toward the camera and the music swells. It's up there with that shot of Robert Stack in Written on the Wind having just learned of his impotence and walking past a child riding a mechanical horse in conveying palpable rock bottom while being hysterically over the top.

Regarding the earlier discussion of Has Anybody Seen My Gal as one of Sirk's finest, I agree that it is an unheralded masterpiece. From what I've seen of his output (which doesn't go far beyond his most popular films), it's firmly in second place behind Imitation of Life.

User avatar
Cash Flagg
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: Douglas Sirk

#104 Post by Cash Flagg » Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:07 am

Feego wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:52 am
that shot of Robert Stack in Written on the Wind having just learned of his impotence and walking past a child riding a mechanical horse
One of my favorite moments in all of cinema, which is why it's been my avatar here for the last twelve years! (Though it doesn't really work as a small, static image, it still makes me chuckle.)

User avatar
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Douglas Sirk

#105 Post by whaleallright » Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:39 am

ha! I've showed that scene to students several times, and it always gets a big laugh—although once a student looked a little perturbed and asked aloud, "What does it mean?" I daren't have showed him the shot of Dorothy Malone caressing the oil derrick....

Post Reply