7.4/10
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Written on the Wind (1956)

Not Rated | | Drama | 25 December 1956 (USA)
Alcoholic playboy Kyle Hadley marries the woman secretly loved by his poor but hard-working best friend, who in turn is pursued by Kyle's nymphomaniac sister.

Director:

Douglas Sirk

Writers:

George Zuckerman (screenplay), Robert Wilder (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rock Hudson ... Mitch Wayne
Lauren Bacall ... Lucy Moore Hadley
Robert Stack ... Kyle Hadley
Dorothy Malone ... Marylee Hadley
Robert Keith ... Jasper Hadley
Grant Williams ... Biff Miley
Robert J. Wilke ... Dan Willis
Edward Platt ... Doctor Paul Cochrane (as Edward C. Platt)
Harry Shannon ... Hoak Wayne
John Larch ... Roy Carter
Joseph Granby Joseph Granby ... R.J. Courtney
Roy Glenn ... Sam
Maidie Norman ... Bertha
William Schallert ... Reporter
Joanne Jordan Joanne Jordan ... Brunette
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Storyline

On 24 October 1955, the hard-work geologist of the Hadley Oil Company Mitch Wayne meets the executive secretary Lucy Moore in the office of her boss Bill Ryan in New York and invites her to go to a conference with the alcoholic playboy and son of a tycoon Kyle Hadley. On the way of the meeting, he confesses that they had traveled from Houston to New York to satisfy the wish of the reckless Kyle, who is his best friend since their childhood, of eating a sandwich from club 21 and the meeting was just a pretext to Kyle's father Jasper Hadley. Mitch and Kyle immediately fall in love for Lucy, and Kyle unsuccessfully uses his money to impress Lucy; then he opens his heart and proposes Lucy. They get married and travel to Acapulco and the insecure Kyle stops drinking. Meanwhile, Kyle's sister Marylee is an easy woman and has a non-corresponded crush on Mitch that sees her as a sister. One year later, Kyle discovers that he has a problem and might be sterile and starts drinking again. The ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This woman in his arms was now the wife of the man he called his best friend! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The actors portraying Mitch Wayne, Rock Hudson and Robert Winans, both passed away at the age of 59. See more »

Goofs

Although set in Texas, all cars in the film have clearly visible California plates. See more »

Quotes

Kyle Hadley: You're a filthy liar.
Marylee Hadley: I'm filthy - period!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Temptation
(uncredited)
Written by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Heard in the scene where Marylee dances and Jasper Hadley dies
See more »

User Reviews

Shown today on A.M.C. (i.e., "Always Multitudes of Commercials"!)
5 August 2003 | by gregcoutureSee all my reviews

Channel-surfing earlier today I was passing the A.M.C. site and there was "Written on the Wind" already underway. I'd seen it during its first-run theatrical release (and not since) and was mildly surprised to observe how vividly I recalled its unfolding.

I rarely submit to watching anything on A.M.C. these days because this once watchable venue has deteriorated into nothing more than a merciless marketplace. Strings of commercials endlessly interrupt every broadcast; virtually all films are shown "formatted" to fill non-widescreen TVs (A.M.C. frequently showed widescreen films in letterboxed broadcasts in the past but not anymore, with the recent exception, I noticed, of a Bruce Lee martial arts festival, of all things!); and then there are A.M.C.'s promotions for its upcoming schedule which are usually outrageously, stupidly silly (and boringly repeated ad nauseum). That said... (once more, I might add...)

This luridly Technicolored "triumph of trash" (not photographed in CinemaScope at a time when that process was Hollywood's way of luring us from our home black-and-white boob tubes) again grabbed me with the same stupefied amazement that fascinated me as a comparatively sheltered young teenager. Douglas Sirk's subversively manipulative direction, Russell Metty's opulent cinematography, the eye-filling and fairly luxurious art direction, and the turgidly expressive musical score all add up to what "over the top" really means. And the cast, assembled with an eye to populating this fantasy with near-godlike creatures (even the African American servants at the Hadley mansion are played by handsome and elegantly capable actors) was a cut above those assigned to most of the Universal-International product of that era.

It was surely Dorothy Malone's finest hour and her supporting actress Oscar was a popular choice among her peers and with the audiences of the day. Robert Stack, before he became such an ossified stiff in the years that followed, deservedly earned his own supporting actor Academy Award nomination. Rock Hudson hadn't yet managed to show his mettle as an actor of some range, though his performance in "Giant" released about the same time gave him a better opportunity to escape the oft-repeated complaint that he was "wooden" and nothing more than a slab of beef(cake). Lauren Bacall, though, was credible as an object of desire for two rivals and her soigne presence was a nice counterpoint to Malone's well-heeled tramp.

All in all this kind of moviemaking is rarely attempted today and the presumed tastes of today's audiences would, were a story like this mounted with a suitable budget and an equivalent cast, most likely be swamped with a degree of tastelessness that would be much less palatable than this example of Sirk's mastery of melodrama was when it was released. It's the cinema equivalent of those new calorie-laden ice cream treats that the dietary watchdogs are so assiduously warning us about now, but I doubt that it's as deleterious for our mental and emotional health. Sure hope not, 'cause I savored every frame!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Written on the Wind See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,495
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »

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