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Written on the Wind PG rating

Douglas Sirk’s broiling melodrama classic; a love quadrangle involving the two brattish heirs of a Texan oil fortune.

Melodrama 1956 100 mins

Director: Douglas Sirk


Douglas Sirk’s broiling melodrama posits a love quadrangle set around the rarefied setting of a Texan oil family. Kyle (Robert Stack) and Marylee (Dorothy Malone) are the brattish siblings on the verge of inheriting a fortune. When Kyle’s mistreated wife Lucy (Lauren Bacall) falls for the altogether more balanced company geologist Mitch (Rock Hudson), tensions and temperatures rise dramatically, not least because Marylee is also infatuated with him.

Setting the template for the hysterical oil-family drama later adopted by TV series Dallas, Written on the Wind is a prime example of Sirk’s celebrated ‘subversive melodramas’, in which the director both revels in his story’s histrionics while also subtly critiquing the form that he's working in.