Douglas Sirk  

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'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.' --Douglas Sirk

'This is our first issue dedicated to a single director. Douglas Sirk was the logical choice. While not exactly a household word himself, some of his films were among the most famous of their time: Magnificent Obsession, Written on the Wind, Imitation of Life. Primarily dismissed as "women's pictures" or "melodramas" — hardly a reasonable approach — these and other Sirk films have withstood the test of time and are finally beginning to receive the attention due them. Some of Sirk's films are masterpieces of form, but even his worst films have something to recommend them. Perhaps sooner than we think we'll see TV Guide refer to Imitation of Life not as "a weepy" but as "one of Douglas Sirk's masterpieces."' --Gary Morris

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Douglas Sirk (born Hans Detlef Sierck; April 26, 1897 – January 14, 1987) was a film director best known for his use of the color palette in Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s. He has been influential to contemporary directors such as François Ozon and Todd Haynes.


In popular culture

Sirk's films have been quoted in films by directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder (whose Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is partly based on All That Heaven Allows) and, later, Quentin Tarantino, Todd Haynes, Pedro Almodóvar, Wong Kar-wai, John Waters and Lars von Trier.

More specifically, Almodóvar's vibrant use of color in 1988's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown recalls the cinematography of Sirk's films of the 1950s, while Haynes' Far From Heaven was a conscious attempt to replicate a typical Sirk melodrama - in particular All That Heaven Allows - but with a more obviously ironic take on the material. Tarantino paid homage to Sirk and his melodramatic style in Pulp Fiction, when character Vincent Vega, at a '50s-themed restaurant, orders the "Douglas Sirk steak" cooked "bloody as hell." Aki Kaurismäki alluded to Sirk as well; in his silent film, Juha to Sirk, the villain's sport car is named "Sierck".


Feature films

  • Das Mädchen vom Moorhof (1935)
  • April, April! (1935)
  • Stützen der Gesellschaft (1935)
  • La Chanson du souvenir (1936) Co-director
  • 't was een april (1936) Co-director
  • Schlußakkord (1936)
  • Das Hofkonzert (1936)
  • Zu neuen Ufern (1937)
  • La Habanera (1937)
  • Accord Final (1938) Uncredited
  • Boefje (1939)
  • Hitler's Madman (1943)
  • Summer Storm (1944)
  • A Scandal in Paris (1946)
  • Lured (1947)
  • Sleep, My Love (1948)
  • Shockproof (1949)
  • Slightly French (1949)
  • Mystery Submarine (1950)
  • The First Legion (1951)
  • Thunder On The Hill (1951)
  • The Lady Pays Off (1951)
  • Week-End With Father (1951)
  • No Room for the Groom (1952)
  • Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952)
  • Meet Me at the Fair(1953)
  • Take Me To Town (1953)
  • All I Desire (1953)
  • Taza, Son of Cochise (1954)
  • Magnificent Obsession (1954)
  • Sign Of The Pagan (1954)
  • Captain Lightfoot (1955)
  • All That Heaven Allows (1955)
  • There's Always Tomorrow (1956)
  • Written on the Wind (1956)
  • Battle Hymn (1957)
  • Interlude (1957)
  • The Tarnished Angels (1958)
  • A Time to Love and A Time to Die (1958)
  • Imitation of Life (1959)
  • Bourbon Street Blues (1979) Co-director

Short films

  • Zwei Genies (1934)
  • Der Eingebildete Kranke (1935)
  • Dreimal Ehe (1935)
  • Sprich zu mir wie der Regen (1975) Co-director
  • Sylvesternacht (1977) Co-director

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Douglas Sirk" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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