It's a whole new world

Thoughts in motion for Media Studies & H.O.C

Oh, it’s Written on the Wind…

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 5:52 am on Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Douglas Sirk’s film that we watched, written on the wind, just seemed like a bad interpretation of wealthy American families at first. It looked like a badly dressed up and overly exaggerated melodrama. However, it did have this sort of ironic undertone, under all the colorful arrays in the design, and the tasteless dialogue.Everything felt dry, and fake, but the director was going for that effect. This was so interesting because people from the 50’s really believed this was a genuine movie, not knowing the director’s ironic twist to it.

Not only were the costumes, such as Marylee’s outfits, outrageously colorful and slightly ridiculous, but also the sets and backgrounds were as well. It was all under the pretense of looking all happy and whatnot but dripping with fake happiness and overdramatic situations. It was, to say the least, an exaggeration. But of what? Well, the director was a foreigner, so my best bet is that he was using this film to emphasize how Americans exaggerate everything we  do. The situations we put ourselves in, the DRAMA we unleash. For instance, this movie is actually based on the real-live scandal of a torch-singer named Libby Holman and her wealthy tobacco heir husband, Zachary Smith Reynolds. Sirk was most likely using this scandal to emphasize the melodramatics of American society.

Hard to believe this was based on something real-life, since it’s so unrealistic. The chain of command in this film is very odd too. The fact that the father would look at his own children with contempt and slightly shun them, to rather accept someone who wasn’t at all blood-related? It was definitely different than one would expect. On a different note, my favorite scene was the parallel shots between the father going to his ‘tramp’ daughter’s room, and Marylee dancing like a crazy person in a flamboyant red robe in her bedroom. The loud music, so deafening that his fall is practically muffled by it, all showed her selfishness and slight madness (did you see the robe???). Marylee was definitely one of the most interesting characters I have ever seen on screen.

Such as when she is trying to seduce Rock Hudson, her brother’s best friend. She is so obvious and she wastes no time in trying to seduce him with her body. His rejection leads her to look for some random guy, which in turn goes to the bedroom scene, father’s death etc. The other scene she’s in where she is alone by the brook, and she reminisces on the childhood love she always had of Hudson. The blast of color from the background, to her own checked shirt, not to mention her acting, left us with such sappy melodramatic 2 minutes.  It is one of the scenes I remember most however. She was literally the only character I felt brought life to the sappy screen.

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