.

THE CULTURAL GOOFBALLS ON WHICH I AM CURRENTLY HOPPED UP

Thursday, August 28, 2014

THE PINK TILES - ORDINARY GIRL (FILMCLIP)



This is just so goddamn happy making. Don't miss thier LP launch at the tote on June 5th!


on the radio, in the world... 28/8/14


ON THE RADIO

We'll have a pre-recorded live in studio thing at around 6 from NO BUNNY who is playing around town this weekend. We'll have some slow grinders, probably some jazz, maybe even some jazz flute. And certainly some other stuff too...

IN THE WORLD


Friday the 29th i'll be at The Sporting Club from 8-11pm

Sat the 30th is SLOW GRIND FEVER #16 upstairs at the tote, with me, mohair slim & pierre baroni, plus Jim Dandy doing a special guest spot at midnight.

Tues sept 2nd I am DJing at some thing at the evelyn from 9-10

And Sat sept 5th is The Pink Tiles LP launch @ the tote w/ sugar fed leopards, plague doctor, the SMB + dj's richie1250 & Grace K

GIG GUIDE
(Double check these listings before going to the gig! Sometimes I screw up the details...)

thurs 28th
Empat Lima @ gasometer (last night of residency)
Fri 29th
Southside soul @ @ the 2nd floor lounge bar @ the kingston town hall ,Moorabin w/ DJ Lady Soul & Big Daddy Warbucks
Sat 30th
SLOW GRIND FEVER #16 @ tote upstairs, richie1250, mohair slim & pierre baroni, plus special guest Jim Dandy 

Wed 3rd
THE HUSSY (USA) @ BAR OPEN W/ Ross De Chene Hurricanes, School Damage
Thurs 4th
MADUP CHOL with THE PUTBACKS  @ Toff in Town , 8pm
Fri Sept 5th
Pink Tiles LP launch @ the tote w/ sugar fed leopards, plague doctor  the SMB + dj's richie1250 & Grace K
beware black holes @ tote upstairs w/ the reprobettes + dj mantrout

COMING UP
Sat Oct 4th
VOODOO RHYTHM RECORDS “WOLF PARTY” AUSTRALIAN RELEASE ft dirct from NZ: BOSS CHRIST + LIGHTNING TAPE WOLD + DOUBLE YA D with the impossible no goods + richie1250 & the brides of christ @ the public bar
git on out there
lurve
richie1250 

To get off this list, reply saying: An Italian restaurant in Taiwan apologized for naming a pasta dish whose primary ingredient was German sausage “Long Live the Nazis,” and a judge in the German town of Leer ordered a defendant’s penis measured after the man claimed its size made it impossible for him to be guilty of exhibitionism. “I’m sorry, darling,” said the man’s wife, “but your penis is too short to hang out of your trousers.”

LAST WEEKS SHOW
(download here) (up soon!)

STREAM HERE FOR NOW

http://pbsfm.org.au/node/37932



PRETTY POISON


Stone Love : Playlist for Friday 22 August 2014

ARTIST | TRACK/SONG NAME | ALBUM TITLE | LABEL/DISTRIBUTOR | COMMENTS
THE FALCONS - STANDING ON GUARD
THE JACKSON 5 - BIG BOY
CICERO BLAKE - SEE WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS
BARBARA & BRENDA - THAT'S WHEN YOU GOT SOUL
MICKI LYNN - I GOT THE BLUES
SUGAR FED LEOPARDS - THE BALLAD (DEMO)
SUGAR FED LEOPARDS INTERVIEW
SUGAR FED LEOPARDS - GHOST OF DISCO
STELLA ANGELICO - NO MAN
BJ MORRISZONKLE - A WOMAN WANTS A GOOD BOOK
TEETH & TONGUE - GOOD MAN
SMOOTA - PRETTY POISON
GREASE 2 CAST - SCORE TONIGHT
POINTER SISTERS - SLOW HAND
BILL JOY - HOW LONG ARE YOU STAYING?
GHOSTFACE - CHERCHEZ LA GHOST
OUTKAST - ATLIENS
THE COUP - TAKIN' THESE
WARREN G - THIS DJ
GRAVEDIGGAZ - NOWHERE TO RUN, NOWHERE TO HIDE
GIL SCOTT HERON - BLUE COLLAR (SOLO PIANO VERSION)
BILL CALLAHAN - SUMMER PAINTER
EDEN AHBEZ - THE WANDERER
EDEN AHBEZ - THE OLD BOAT
ERIC DOLPHY - EPISTROPHY
DARRYL CARTER - THE ONLY THING THAT SAVED ME PT 2

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

on the radio, in the world... 21/08/14


ON THE RADIO

mmmmmmmmmmmm, something nice. some slow grinders and some jazz and some hip hop and all that good stuff.

I'll also be on the radio over at RRR at 8pm guesting on Annalise's show Neon Sunset, helping spruik their radio festival. Sign up!

IN THE WORLD

Sat the 23rd i'll be selling records at the crate doigger record fair at BAR OPEN (moved from yahyahs) from midday. then i'll be DJing at YahYahs from 12-5am.

Friday the 29th i'll be at The Sporting Club from 8-1am.

Sat the 30th is SLOW GRIND FEVER #16 upstairs at the tote, with me, mohair slim & pierre baroni, plus Jim Dandy doing a special guest spot at midnight.

GIG GUIDE
(Double check these listings before going to the gig! Sometimes I screw up the details...)

thurs 21st
Empat Lima @ Gasometer w/ habits + terrible truths
stella angelico @ cherry

sat 23rd
crate digger record fair @ bar open
gator queen @ the westernport hotel, san remo
the ruling motions @ bar open

tues 26th
miles & simone @ the old bar

git on out there
lurve
richie1250 

To get off this list, reply saying: rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

LAST WEEKS SHOW
(download here)




HEARTACHE AND HEARTGASM

Stone Love : Playlist for Friday 15 August 2014

ARTIST | TRACK/SONG NAME | ALBUM TITLE | LABEL/DISTRIBUTOR | COMMENTS
LIONEL HAMPTON - LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING
LARRY BANKS - I'M NOT THE ONE
LORRAINE ELLISON - STAY WITH ME
BOBBY BLAND - TOO LATE FOR TEARS
KING FLOYD - PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME LONELY
THE DRAMATICS - IN THE RAIN
THE DARLING DEARS AND FUNKY HEAVY - I DON'T THINK I'LL EVER LOVE ANOTHER
LOVE APPLE - I GUESS I ALWAYS KNEW
AMY WINEHOUSE - WAKE UP ALONE
IRMA THOMAS - I'M GONNA TRY TILL MY TEARS RUN DRY
BABY WASHINGTON - WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKEN HEARTED
SANTO & JOHNNY - SUMMERTIME
ROY ORBISON - CRYING
ROY ORBISON - THE CLOWN
RICKY NELSON - LONESOME TOWN
NATHANIEL MAYER - HURTING LOVE
RENALDO DOMINO - NEVERMORE
ROBERT TANNER - SWEET MEMORIES
SOULSATIONS - SONG FOR MY FATHER
TONY OWENS - CONFESSING A FEELING
THE MASQUERADERS - I AIN'T GOT TO LOVE NOBODY ELSE
THE MAD LADS - I DON'T HAVE TO SHOP AROUND ANYMORE
JOHNNY TAYLOR - AIN'T THAT LOVING YOU
JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY - SO MANY REASONS
DAN PENN - POWER OF LOVE
THE STAPLE SINGERS - TRIPPING ON YOUR LOVE
THE MASTERS OF SOUL - SAD FACE
THE SOUL BROTHERS SIX - I'LL BE LOVING YOU
LITTLE BOB - THE HIGH ROAD
THE ACCENTS FT SANDI - YOU BETTER WATCH OUT BOY
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - I FOUND A REASON
LEE SHOT WILLIAMS - I FOUND A LOVE
SYL JOHNSON - THE LOVE I FOUND IN YOU

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji (Takashi Miike, 2013)



This one comes from the utterly ridiculous but highly enjoyable school of Japanese cinema that takashi Miike occasionally like's to work in. It features, among other things, drug smuggling jack russels, a cat obsessed yakuza goon who says "meow" at the end of every sentence (or "nya" since we are in Japan), a fabulously bad leopard print suit worn by our undercover "mole" hero, a hearty song sung by all the policemen about our "mole's" mission, and lot's of hilariously earnest talk about "this is 1000 tablets of MDMA that's going to hit the street, do you know how many young people's lives that could ruin??? I won't let you destroy Japan with Drugs!!!!"

Lotsa fun.




EMPAT LIMA ART PARTY RESIDENCY



Empat Lima. They just get better and better. Every time they play I am still totally unprepared for how hard they cook. Carla is like some kind of merciless musclebound mercenary on those drums, and Sooji is getting all low and dancing these funky rings around with the bass, and steph is all floating on top with these wispy hot filaments of guitar, and it's all rolling in these heavy moody waves, and then it starts to get fully psychedelic and I have to sit down for a bit.

Anyway, they are playing every thursday this month at the gasometer. I imagine at the end they will form like voltron and destroy us all..

here da bands playing the next few weeks

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
THURS 14TH

BILL BUCKLEY + ANDY HUSTEWAITE (sculpture installation) - do not underestimate what these lads are capable of building.

THE ICYPOLES -dream yourself into a Godard dance scene or eating a slice of pie at the Double R Diner.
http://theicypoles.bandcamp.com/

RICHIE 1250 & THE BRIDES OF CHRIST
- green smoke rock'n'roll
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richie1250-The-Brides-Of-Christ/135574243180895?sk=timeline

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
THURS 21ST

HOSTED BY WONDERBOY

THE TERRIBLE TRUTHS - a lady-led trio from Adelaide working the unadorned post-punk angle
https://www.facebook.com/terribletruths/info

HABITS - zef trio from Melbourne.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/HABITS/136876876485596

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
THURS 28TH

ORLANDO FURIUS - outsider music played indoors.
https://www.facebook.com/OrlandoFurious/timeline

ROGUE WAVS - Loretta from Mangle Wurzel plays 8 bit pop songs with infectious melodies.
https://soundcloud.com/roguewavs/sets

ROBBIE PITTS - live improvised visual projections

and a ZIne Market!!!
http://www.ashleyronning.com/


HEAR DEM HERE:

http://empatlima.bandcamp.com/releases


on the radio, in the world... 14/08/14


ON THE RADIO

Hmmmmmmm. Possibly I will do a special episode where the first half of the show is all heartache songs and the second half is all moochy dreamy love songs. Or if I don't have time to get that together we'll just have a regular old show full of random goodies!

IN THE WORLD

thurs the 14th richie1250 & the brides of christ are playing at week 2 of the empat lima reso @ gasometer

friday the 15th i'll be DJing at the pinnacle in north fitz from 8 till 1

sat the 16th i'll be DJing at The B.East from 7-930 and then going to see THE CLITS at The Tote!

GIG GUIDE
(Double check these listings before going to the gig! Sometimes I screw up the details...)

thurs 14th
empat lima @ gasometer w/ w/ richie1250 & the brides of christ + the icypoles
Friday 15th
The reprobettes CD launch @ LuWow w/ Steven Miller Band + DJs Simon Laxton + Ken Eavel + Hot go-go boy dancers!
Mighty Boys l 'Dole Cheque & Kabana' 12" launch @ the tote w/ wod, mutton + loobz
Richie1250 DJing @ Pinnacle, 8 till 1
Sat 16th
The Clits @ the Tote! with other bands too
gator queen @ pistol pete's (geelong)
stella angelico @ howler w/ sib (album launch)
richie1250 DJ @ B.East, 7-930
shack shakers @ spotted mallard
King 7 & The Elvis Unleashed band @ The Pinnacle, 330 to 630
King 7 & the TCB Band @ the Gem

git on out there
lurve
richie1250 

To get off this list, reply saying: At a zoo in Crimea, a foal named Telegraph was born to a zebra and a donkey. “Such things don’t happen,” said a spokeswoman for a zoo in Moscow, “in civilized zoos.”

LAST WEEKS SHOW
(download here)




ALCOHOLIC TEENAGE GIRLS, LAILA BELLYDANCE GUEST DJ SEGMENT

Stone Love : Playlist for Friday 8 August 2014

ARTIST | TRACK/SONG NAME | ALBUM TITLE | LABEL/DISTRIBUTOR | COMMENTS
JOE DUKES - SOULFUL DRUMS (talkover record)
DAN PENN - KEEP ON TALKING
THE SENSATIONAL GUITARS OF DAN AND DALE - ROBIN'S THEME
DEREK MARTIN - DADDY ROLLING STONE
DOTTIE CAMBRIDGE - HE'S ABOUT A MOVER
THE PLEASURE SEEKERS - WHAT A WAY TO DIE
UNKNOWN SINGER - I'M GONNA DESTROY THAT BOY
THE REPROBETTES - MAN DROUGHT
EMPAT LIMA - HANOI
SUGAR FED LEOPARDS - FRESH JAGUAR MEAT (STUDIO DEMO)
STELLA ANGELICO & THE SWITCH - LITTLE BOY
STELLA ANGELICO & THE SWITCH - CRYING IN THE CAR
FATTI FRANCES - OOH BABY, BABY
OUTKAST - SPREAD
OUTKAST - WHERE ARE MY PANTIES?
OUTKAST - PROTOTYPE
ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITTI - MISTAKEN WEDDING
ELECTRELANE - IN BERLIN
****LAILA SCHOUA BELLY DANCE RECORDS GUEST DJ SEGMENT****
GIORG CREMONA - GIUSEPPI W MARIA
GEORG COLEMAN - THIS OLD WORLD IS IN A TERRIBLE CONDITION

Thursday, August 7, 2014

MARLOWE (Paul Bogart, 1969)



This 1969 film adaption of Raymond Chandler's 1949 detective novel "The Little Sister" is definitely a "B" picture, and mostly I didn't really know what the hell was going on or why anybody was doing what they did, but it was generally groovy and I had great time. Some highlights include a great scene where Bruce Lee trashes James Garner's office using his karate skills, a fabulous catfight between two sisters, and a great scene where Garner assists a stripper (Rita Moreno)
with her routine from the side of stage while interrogating her about "what really went down" the whole time.

Highly recommended for those in need of groovy, low-brow entertainment.



on the radio, in the world... 07/08/14


ON THE RADIO

Hopefully Chantthy from Cambodian Space Project gonna make it in to play some guest selections of SE-Asian 60s music ahead of her DJ gig at the forum this sunday before the "Dont Think I've forgotten - cambodias lost rock nroll" screening at MIFF.

Will also have bellydancer Laila Shouha coming in about 6:15 to play some middle-eastern bellydance favourites recently liberated from her mothers record collection.

Plus some selections from the new reprobettes album which is a winner.

And maybe some clifton chenier and some bo diddley and some derek martin and some other stuff too!

IN THE WORLD

thurs 7th i'll be doing a Richard Burton-esque reading of some work from the staten island poetry collective The Wu Tang Clan before each band at the EMPAT LIMA residency gig @ gasometer from 8pm

sat 9th i'm dj'ing at the gaso from 12 - 3

thurs the 14th richie1250 & the brides of christ are playing at week 2 of the empat lima reso @ gasometer

friday the 15th i'll be DJing at the pinnacle in north fitz from 8 till 1

sat the 16th i'll be DJing at The B.East from 7-930 and then going to see THE CLITS at The Tote!

GIG GUIDE
(Double check these listings before going to the gig! Sometimes I screw up the details...)

Thurs 7th
empat lima @ gasometer w/ pink tiles + jugular cuts + richie1250 dramatic recitiaton of wu-tang lyrics
fri 8th
tek tek ensemble @ open studio
school damage @ the tote w/ living eyes, cobwebbs, stations, orb
Sat 9th
The Shining (extended version) screening @ The Astor Cinema
beware! black holes @ the retreat
chant down sound More Fire #162 @ mercat cross
rahrahs @ wesley anne w/ patches (lp launch)
sun 10th
rahrahs @ yahyahs w/ The Henchmen & Scrub Wrens

thurs 14th
empat lima @ gasometer w/ w/ richie1250 & the brides of christ + the icypoles
Friday 15th
The reprobettes CD launch @ LuWow w/ Steven Miller Band + DJs Simon Laxton + Ken Eavel + Hot go-go boy dancers!
Mighty Boys l 'Dole Cheque & Kabana' 12" launch @ the tote w/ wod, mutton + loobz
Sat 16th
The Clits @ the Tote! with other bands too
stella angelico @ howler w/ sib (album launch)
King 7 & The Elvis Unleashed band @ The Pinnacle, 330 to 630
King 7 & the TCB Band @ the Gem

git on out there
lurve
richie1250 

To get off this list, reply saying: "Wife" is a restrictive term. We say "Castle Lady".

LAST WEEKS SHOW
(download here)
(last weeks up now too)




METAL ON METAL, BOOGALOO, VINCE GUESTS

Stone Love : Playlist for Friday 1 August 2014

ARTIST | TRACK/SONG NAME | ALBUM TITLE | LABEL/DISTRIBUTOR | COMMENTS
PUCHO & THE LATIN SOUL BROTHERS - HEAT (talkover music)
CLARK TERRY & CHICO O'FARRIL - SPANISH RICE
JIMMY SABATER - THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING
TONY MIDDLETON & BOBBY MATOS - RETURN TO SPANISH HARLEM
PUCHO & THE LATIN SOUL BROTHERS - VIETNAM MAMBO
JOHN BARRY - KINKY
TINO CONTRERAS - EN EL VIEJO ISTANBUL
MARIE FRANKLIN - MOON RIVER
THE COASTERS - BESAME MUCHO PT 2 (talkover music)
MAMIE PERRY - LAMENT
YOUNG JESSIE - BROWN EYES
TOUSSAINT MCCALL - SUMMERTIME
THE LAVENDERS - ONE MORE TIME
THE LOVEJOYS - PAYIN (FOR THE WRONG I'VE DONE)
VINCE PEACH GUEST SELECTIONS:
SHIRLEY LAWSON - THE STAR
PEACHES & HERB - ?
CHRIS JACKSON - ?
EDWIN STAR - S.O.S. (STOP HER ON SIGHT)
JACKIE WILSON - ?
MARY WELLS - ?
NOLAN CHANCE - SHE'S GONE & SHE WON'T BE BACK
TV SLIM - LOVE BOUNCE (talkover music)
ROY ORBISON - CHICKEN HEARTED
CHARLIE FEATHERS - ONE HAND LOOSE
LINK WRAY & THE WRAYMEN - AIN'T THAT LOVIN YOU BABY
JON WAYNE - MR EGYPTIAN
STOMPY & THE HEAT - ALIEN DEATH RAY (talkover music)
ANVIL - METAL ON METAL
SPINAL TAP - HEAVY DUTY
THIN LIZZY - CHINATOWN
EMPAT LIMA - NIGHT RIDER
STELLA ANGELICO & THE SWITCH - LIPSTICK
HEROIN IN TAHITI - SPAGHETTI WASTELAND
C.A. QUINTET - TRIP THROUGH HELL

Friday, August 1, 2014

WRITTEN ON THE WIND (Douglas Sirk, 1956)


I watched this strange film in a hungover daze on the weekend. I've never seen anything quite like it. It makes not the slightest attempt at subtlety or character development or any kind of believable character actions.

I think Roger Ebert sums it up very well here...

   |   3

Opinion on the melodramas of Douglas Sirk has flip-flopped since his key films were released in the 1950s. At the time, critics ridiculed them and the public lapped them up. Today most viewers dismiss them as pop trash, but in serious film circles Sirk is considered a great filmmaker--a German who fled Hitler to become the sly subverter of American postwar materialism.
One cold night this winter, I went up to the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead, north of London, to see a revival of a restored print of Sirk's “Written on the Wind” (1956). This is 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.
All the reviews of this movie seem to involve lists: It's about wealth, alcoholism, nymphomania, impotence, suicide, and veiled elements of incest and homosexuality. And the theme song, by Sammy Cahn, is sung by the Four Aces. The pieces are in place for a film you can mock and patronize. But my fellow audience members sat in appreciative silence (all right, they snickered a little when Rock Hudson is told it's time to get married and replies, “I have trouble enough just finding oil”).
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. The Manhattan skyline in an early scene is obviously a painted backdrop. The rear-projected traffic uses cars that are 10 years too old. The swimming hole at the river, where the characters make youthful promises they later regret, is obviously a tank on a sound stage with fake scenery behind it.
The actors are as artificial as the settings. They look like Photoplay covers, and speak in the clich├ęs of pulp romance. Sirk did not cast his films by accident, and one of the pleasures of “Written on the Wind” is the way he exaggerates the natural qualities of his actors and then uses them ironically.
The film stars Rock Hudson as Mitch Wayne (think about that name), who grew up poor on the Texas ranch owned by oil millionaire Jasper Hadley (Robert Keith). He's been raised with Jasper's son Kyle (Robert Stack) and daughter Marylee (Dorothy Malone). Now Mitch holds an important post in the Hadley Oil empire, which requires him to wear a baseball cap and keep a yellow pencil parked over his ear, while studying geological maps. Kyle has turned into a drunken playboy, and Marylee into a drunken nympho.
As the film opens, Mitch and Kyle are in New York, where they both fall in love with the trim, intelligent Lucy Moore (Lauren Bacall). When she tells Kyle she wants to work in advertising, he picks up the phone to buy her an agency. She demurs. All three have lunch at 21, and then Kyle sends Mitch to buy cigarettes while he whisks Lucy off in a cab to the airport, where Mitch (who knows his tricks) is there ahead of them on the Hadley plane. Kyle pilots it himself, flying them to Miami Beach while confessing to Lucy, “I drink too much” and “Nobody has ever listened to me the way you do.” Of Mitch Wayne, he says: “He's eccentric. He's poor.” The terms are synonymous.
In Miami Beach, they check into a Hadley hotel, where the manager announces “Miss Moore's suite” while the music swells in materialistic ecstasy, and Kyle shows Lucy closets full of designer gowns, drawers full of purses and trays of jewelry, and asks her to prepare for dinner. Half an hour later (after dressing with Mitch in the suite they ... share), Kyle enters Lucy's suite, calling out, “Are you decent?” Discovering she has left for the airport, he muses, “I guess she was.”
Miami Beach was a painted backdrop. Texas, apart from a few shots of sports cars racing past oil derricks, is all built on the back lot. The plot heats up. Marylee has had a crush on Mitch since childhood, and wants to marry him. So great is her need, indeed, that when she sashays around in low-cut dresses, her knees almost buckle under the weight of her lust (Malone won an Oscar for the performance).
Kyle goes on the wagon, until a doctor unwisely informs him he is impotent. Well, not completely impotent--there is a “problem,” but a baby is “possible.” Kyle doesn't wait for the footnotes before racing to the country club to resume his boozing, and when Lucy tells him she's pregnant, he assumes the father is Mitch--a suspicion encouraged by Marylee, who wants Lucy off the ranch so she can regain possession of her childhood friends.
If I smile as I synopsize the plot, surely Sirk was smiling when he directed it; he's subverting the very lifestyle he celebrates. His use of artificial and contrived effects, colors and plot devices is “a screaming Brechtian essay on the shared impotence of American family and business life,” says film critic Dave Kehr, and encompasses deliberate distancing “that draws attention to the artificiality of the film medium, in turn commenting on the hollowness of middle-class American life” (Cinebooks). Well, yes, but it's possible to enjoy Sirk's subtleties as simple entertainment, too. 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 (that Williams' work survives is a tribute to his poetry, not his common sense).
One test of satire is: At what point do we realize the author is kidding? There's a clue here in an early remark by Mitch to Lucy: “Are you looking for laughs? Or are you soul-searching?” And in the way the old swimming hole represents lost innocence and promise for Marylee. In one of the film's more lurid sequences, Sirk uses a closeup of her face in orgiastic nostalgia, as we hear little Mitch's childish voice piping out a promise to marry Marylee when they grow up. “How far we've come from the river!” Mitch later tells her.
There's a broad wink and nudge at the end. Old Jasper Hadley is often seen behind his desk, which holds a large bronze model of an oil derrick. (A portrait on his wall shows him at the same desk with the same bronze--a barbershop mirror effect.) At the end of the film, after Marylee's rivals have won, she is left alone in her father's office, where she caresses the erect derrick--first sadly, then tenderly.
To appreciate the trashiness of “Written on the Wind” is not to condescend to it. To a greater degree than we realize, our lives and decisions are formed by pop cliches and conventions. Films that exaggerate our fantasies help us to see them--to be amused by them, and by ourselves. They clear the air.
Douglas Sirk (1900-1987) had two careers. His first 37 years were spent in Germany, where he worked as a stage director, specializing in classics. His first American film was “Hitler's Madmen” (1943), and his critical reputation is based on a series of enormously popular melodramas he made for Universal, including “All I Desire” (1953), “Magnificent Obsession” (1954), “All That Heaven Allows” (1955) and “Imitation of Life” (1959). He also made Westerns, musicals and war stories, working with Hudson more often than any other star--perhaps appreciating the way Hudson's concealed homosexuality worked subtly to subvert the stock characters he often played.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, another German obsessed with American forms of melodrama, said Sirk was the greatest influence on his work. Certainly Sirk was the father of prime-time TV soaps. “I have seen `Written on the Wind' a thousand times,” the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar said, “and I cannot wait to see it again.” Sirk's style spread so pervasively that nobody could do melodrama with a straight face after him. In countless ways visible and invisible, Sirk's sly subversion skewed American popular culture, and helped launch a new age of irony.