Douglas Sirk – Battle Hymn (1957)

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Synopsis wrote:
Battle Hymn was inspired by the true story of American minister Dean Hess, played here with rare sensitivity by Rock Hudson. A bomber pilot during World War II, Hess inadvertently releases a bomb which destroys a German orphanage. Tortured by guilt, Hess relocates in Korea after the war to offer his services as a missionary. Combining the best elements of Christianity and Eastern spiritualism, Hess establishes a large home for orphans. The preacher’s efforts are threatened when the Korean “police action” breaks out in 1950. Battle Hymn was one of several collaborations between Rock Hudson and director Douglas Sirk–though Sirk felt that Robert Stack would have been better suited to the role of Rev. Hess. Continue reading Douglas Sirk – Battle Hymn (1957)

Douglas Sirk – All That Heaven Allows [+commentary] (1955)

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Quote:
Douglas Sirk once said: “This is the dialectic—there is a very short distance between high art and trash, and trash that contains an element of craziness is by this very quality nearer to art.” When All That Heaven Allows was released by Universal Pictures in 1955, it was just another critically unnoticed Hollywood genre product, designed to appeal to the trashy “women’s weepie” audience. Now, in retrospect, it is considered to be closer to the art side of Sirk’s dialectic, and one of his key films. But this is part of a wider process of critical reevaluation in which his entire body of work has been rediscovered and reappraised by successive generations of filmmakers and historians. Continue reading Douglas Sirk – All That Heaven Allows [+commentary] (1955)

Douglas Sirk – Zu neuen Ufern AKA To New Shores (1937)

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Quote:
“The film is a melodrama in the high Sirk style (Leander is a cabaret singer in 1840s London who takes the rap when her lover passes a bad check and gets deported to the penal compound that was then Australia), but with a great deal of music, performed by Leander in the wrenchingly emotional style that has made her as much of an icon to German gays as Garland is to the US community.” Continue reading Douglas Sirk – Zu neuen Ufern AKA To New Shores (1937)

Douglas Sirk – Hitler’s Madman (1943)

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Quote:
Hitler’s Madman is based on an all-too-real wartime atrocity. John Carradine portrays Heydrich, the vicious SS officer put in charge of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Heydrich is killed by the Czech underground, prompting the Nazis to plan a horrible retaliation. The Gestapo selects the Czech village of Lidice for annihilation: They kill all the male villagers, throw the women and children into concentration camps, and torch Lidice into nonexistence. The victims of Nazi tyranny become martyrs to the underground cause, ending the film on a note of triumph. Based on a narrative poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Hitler’s Madman was produced by the “poverty row” PRC studio, but was sold to MGM and given a class-A presentation at choice theatres throughout the U.S. Continue reading Douglas Sirk – Hitler’s Madman (1943)