Douglas Sirk

"His strong visual sense and facility with melodrama led to a highly successful career as a director of 'women's weepies'… Dismissed as florid and novelettish by contemporary critics - though very popular at the box-office - Sirk's films can now be seen as impressive and incisive examinations of emotional relationships in American society." - The Illustrated Who's Who of Cinema, 1983

Douglas Sirk

Director
(1897-1987) Born April 26, Hamburg, Germany
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Drama, Melodrama, Romance, Adventure, Film Noir, War Drama, Family Drama, War, Biography, Historical Film, Adventure Drama, Musical
Key Collaborators: Alexander Golitzen (Production Designer), Ross Hunter (Producer), Russell Metty (Cinematographer), Frank Skinner (Composer), Rock Hudson (Leading Actor), Russell Schoengarth (Editor), Joseph Gershenson (Composer), Milton Carruth (Editor), Bernard Herzbrun (Production Designer), William Daniels (Cinematographer), Eric Orbom (Production Designer), Emrich Nicholson (Production Designer)

"No other director has been more closely associated with the concept of melodrama in cinema than Douglas Sirk… While popular with audiences, Sirk’s films were often condemned by contemporary film critics as examples of the sensationalism and sentimentality of popular cinema. However, in France, the critics of the influential Cahiers du Cinèma, notably François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, praised Sirk’s distinctive visual style. In the early 1970s a new generation of film scholars, notably Thomas Elsaesser, Paul Willemen, Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, and Fred Camper, ‘‘rediscovered’’ Sirk’s films, hailing them as supreme examples of a subversive critique of postwar American society expressed through stylized mise-en-scène drawing on irony and Brechtian alienating devices. Sirk’s work has influenced many subsequent filmmakers including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Martin Scorsese, John Waters, Pedro Almodóvar, Jonathan Demme, and Todd Haynes." - John Mercer (Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2007)
"Most of the projects assigned to him were unpromising in content and miniscule in budget. He was often forced to contend with ridiculous scripts, ranging in genre from thriller to maudlin soap operas. That he managed to overcome the handicap and end up with a good number of thoroughly enjoyable films is a tribute to his personal taste and the formal excellence of his visual style." - The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994
"Time, if nothing else, will vindicate Douglas Sirk as it has already vindicated Josef von Sternberg. Formal excellence and visual wit are seldom as appreciated at first glance as are the topical sensations of the hour. One big obstacle to an appreciation of his oeuvre is an inbred prejudice to what Raymond Durgnat has called the genre of the female weepies as opposed to the male weepies." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)
"Though the erudite Sirk worked in the intellectually disreputable realm of the melodrama, his alertness to the injustices underlying the American Dream and his commitment to underdog characters made for heart-rending, thought-provoking cinema." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Stylish melodramas form the core of Sirk's reputation, but he lensed suspense films, costume dramas, comedies, and even Westerns with flair." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"So slowly in my mind formed the idea of melodrama, a form I found to perfection in American pictures. They were naive, they were that something completely different. They were completely Art-less." - Douglas Sirk
"If I can say one thing for my pictures, it is a certain craftsmanship. A thought which has gone into every angle. There is nothing there without an optical reason." - Douglas Sirk
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Sleep, My Love (1948), Magnificent Obsession (1954), All That Heaven Allows (1955) , Written on the Wind (1956) , There's Always Tomorrow (1956) , The Tarnished Angels (1957) , Imitation of Life (1959)
Recommended
Shockproof (1949), Thunder on the Hill (1951), Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952), All I Desire (1953), Interlude (1957), A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958)
Worth a Look
Final Accord (1936), Hitler's Madman (1943), A Scandal in Paris (1946), Lured (1947), Meet Me at the Fair (1952), Take Me to Town (1953)
Approach with Caution
La Habanera (1937), Sign of the Pagan (1954), Captain Lightfoot (1955), Battle Hymn (1957)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Magnificent Obsession
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