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Written on the Wind

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Romance Film, Drama film

United States


Initial DVD release
August 21, 2001



Written on the Wind movie poster

Release date
December 1956 (1956-12)

Based on
Written on the Wind (1945 novel)

George Zuckerman (screenplay), Robert Wilder (based on the novel by)

(Mitch Wayne), (Lucy Moore Hadley), (Kyle Hadley), (Marylee Hadley), (Jasper Hadley),
Grant Williams
(Biff Miley)

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The story of a decent love...that fought to live against the vice and immorality of an oil baron's wastrel family...and of the ugly secret that thrust their privates lives into public view!

Written on the Wind is a 1956 American Technicolor drama film directed by Douglas Sirk starring Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone.


Written on the Wind movie scenes

The screenplay by George Zuckerman was based on Robert Wilder's 1945 novel of the same name, a thinly disguised account of the real-life scandal involving torch singer Libby Holman and her husband, tobacco heir Zachary Smith Reynolds. Zuckerman shifted the locale from North Carolina to Texas, made the source of the family wealth oil rather than tobacco, and changed all the character names.

Written on the Wind movie scenes

written on the wind opening dir douglas sirk 1956


Written on the Wind movie scenes

Self-destructive, alcoholic nymphomaniac Marylee (Dorothy Malone) and her insecure, alcoholic playboy brother Kyle (Robert Stack) are the children of Texas oil baron Jasper Hadley (Robert Keith). Spoiled by their inherited wealth and crippled by their personal demons, neither is able to sustain a personal relationship.

Written on the Wind wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters28728p28728

Problems ensue after Kyle's impulsive marriage to New York City executive secretary Lucy Moore (Lauren Bacall), who becomes a steadying influence to his life through the first few months after they meet. Kyle resumes drinking after being unsuccessful in fathering a baby. He turns against his childhood friend, Marylee's long-time infatuation, Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson), a geologist for the oil company. Kyle's anger and depression grow after the death of his father, who admires Mitch but is disgusted with the behavior of his two heirs.

Written on the Wind Written on the Wind Wikipedia

Mitch is secretly in love with Lucy. He keeps these feelings private until Kyle, having been diagnosed with a low sperm count, physically assaults Lucy when she announces her pregnancy, wrongly assuming it to be the result of adultery with Mitch. Lucy's fall results in a miscarriage. Mitch vows to leave town with her as soon as she's well enough to travel. On his return, a drunken Kyle recovers a hidden pistol and intends to shoot Mitch. Marylee struggles with her brother for the weapon, but it accidentally fires, killing him.

Written on the Wind Written on the Wind Movie Review 1956 Roger Ebert

Repeatedly spurned by the man she claims to love, a spiteful Marylee threatens to implicate Mitch in Kyle's death. At the inquest, she first testifies that he killed her sibling. But she tearfully redeems herself at the last second by admitting the truth. Mitch and Lucy depart, leaving Marylee to mourn the death of her brother and run the company alone.


Written on the Wind Written on the Wind Critics Round Up

  • Rock Hudson as Mitch Wayne
  • Lauren Bacall as Lucy Moore Hadley
  • Robert Stack as Kyle Hadley
  • Dorothy Malone as Marylee Hadley
  • Robert Keith as Jasper Hadley
  • Grant Williams as Biff Miley
  • Edward Platt as Dr. Paul Cochrane
  • Robert J. Wilke as Dan Willis
  • Harry Shannon as Hoak Wayne
  • John Larch as Roy Carter
  • Joseph Granby as Judge R.J. Courtney
  • Roy Glenn as Sam
  • Maidie Norman as Bertha
  • William Schallert as Jack Williams—Reporter
  • Joanne Jordan as Brunette
  • Upon release

    Written on the Wind Andys Film Blog Written on the Wind

    In his review in the New York Times upon the initial release of the film, Bosley Crowther said, "The trouble with this romantic picture . . . is that nothing really happens, the complications within the characters are never clear and the sloppy, self-pitying fellow at the center of the whole thing is a bore."

    Modern criticism

    Written on the Wind Watch Written on the Wind Remains Sirks Most Flamboyant

    In 1998, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "a perverse and wickedly funny melodrama in which you can find the seeds of Dallas, Dynasty, and all the other prime-time soaps. Sirk is the one who established their tone, in which shocking behavior is treated with passionate solemnity, while parody burbles beneath . . . To appreciate a film like Written on the Wind probably takes more sophistication than to understand one of Ingmar Bergman's masterpieces, because Bergman's themes are visible and underlined, while with Sirk the style conceals the message. His interiors are wildly over the top, and his exteriors are phony - he wants you to notice the artifice, to see that he's not using realism but an exaggerated Hollywood studio style . . . Films like this are both above and below middle-brow taste. If you only see the surface, it's trashy soap opera. If you can see the style, the absurdity, the exaggeration and the satirical humor, it's subversive of all the 1950s dramas that handled such material solemnly. William Inge and Tennessee Williams were taken with great seriousness during the decade, but Sirk kids their Freudian hysteria."

    Written on the Wind The Criterion Contraption 96 Written on the Wind

    TV Guide describes the film as "the ultimate in lush melodrama," "Douglas Sirk's finest directorial effort," and "one of the most notable critiques of the American family ever made."

    Awards and nominations

  • Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Malone, winner)
  • Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Stack, nominee)
  • Academy Award for Best Song (nominee)
  • Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress (Malone, nominee)
  • References

    Written on the Wind Wikipedia
    Written on the Wind IMDb Written on the Wind

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