Smooth as Sirk


Over at Alex on Film I’ve been checking out a couple of Douglas Sirk melodramas (read: soaps) from the 1950s: Magnificent Obsession and Written on the Wind. I’m not a big fan, but I can see why Sirk’s reputation, at least among film scholars, has grown so much in recent years. These are movies that make you scratch your head. How seriously are we meant to take them? What cultural impact did they have, particularly on the forging of our Technicolor vision of a mythic 1950s America? And finally how did Rock Hudson, a dreamboat to be sure, become such a romantic star when he doesn’t possess an iota of sexuality? Were women that afraid of sex in the 1950s?

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