“Just observe the difference between All That Heaven Allows and Written on the Wind. It’s a different stratum of society in All That Heaven Allows, still untouched by any lengthening shadows of doubt. Here in Written on the Wind, a condition of life is being portrayed, and in many ways anticipated, which is not unlike today’s decaying and crumbling American society.”
“In Written on the Wind the good, the ‘normal’, the ‘beautiful’ are always utterly revolting; the evil, the weak, the dissolute arouse one’s compassion. Even for the manipulators of the good.
And then again, the house in which it all takes place. Governed, so to speak, by one huge staircase. And mirrors. And endless flowers. And gold. And coldness. A house such as one would build if one had a lot of money. A house with all the props that go with having real money, and in which one cannot feel at ease. It is like the Oktoberfest, where everything is colourful and in movement, and you feel as alone as everyone. Human emotions have to blossom in the strangest ways in the house Douglas Sirk had built for the Hadleys. Sirk’s lighting is always as unnatural as possible. Shadows where there shouldn’t be any make feelings plausible which one would rather have left unacknowledged. In the same way the camera angles in Written on the Wind are almost always tilted, mostly from below, so that the strange things in the story happen on the screen, not just in the spectator’s head. Douglas Sirk’s films liberate your head.”
Rainer Werner Fassbinder1
“Who knows Douglas Sirk? Douglas Sirk is the most neglected director in the whole of American cinema. There is no serious study, no sign or festival to salute one of the most interesting and exciting personalities in the entire history of the cinema.”