Editor’s Note: This is the fifteenth part of a planned sixteen part series about the German and American master director Douglas Sirk (Detlef Sierck). The previous parts were published on
22 April 2017 (Introduction)
27 April 2017 (Notes on the Weimar and Nazi years)
2nd May 2017 (The American independent years, 1943-51)
7th May 2017 (Sirk at Universal 1951-53)
14 May 2017 (Sirk at Universal, 1953-57)
16 May 2017 (Sirk at Universal, The Last Films, 1958-59)
17 May 2017 (Klaus Detlef Sierck, 1925-1944)
22 May 2017 (Critical Recognition, the Turning)
30 May 2017 (Sirk Auteur, Part One)
4 June 2017 (Sirk Auteur, Part Two)
12 June 2017 (Drama/melodrama/tragedy)
18 June 2017 (Post Sirk:Mass Camp; Genre and the Women's Film)
26 June 2017 The Critical Backlash
27 June 2017 The Legacy
Click on the dates to access the earlier posts.
To come shortly: An Afterword: The American Family on Screen (16).
Bruce is a long time cinephile, scholar and writer on cinema across a broad range of subjects. The study being posted in parts is among the longest and most detailed ever devoted to the work of Douglas Sirk. It is planned for the complete text to be published as an e-book.
|Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Bourbon Street Blues|
Some of Sirk's American features are available for viewing free on YouTube most notably the otherwise hard to find key indie feature The First Legion. Also available on YouTube is Sirk's last film Bourbon Street Blues a one act play by Tennessee Williams,“The Lady of Larkspur Lotion.” One of the four actors is Rainer Werner Fassbinder playing the writer “Chekov.” Sirk made it as a demonstration film for his students at the film school in Munich in 1978. He is credited as director and co-producer. Visually it is reminiscent of Sirk's work with Russell Metty (he had a pretty good substitute in Michael Ballhaus) in its chiaroscuro cinematography in colour. It runs 24 mins and is unsubtitled. A brief description of the play is provided. Zu neuen Ufern and La Habanera (both with English subtitles) are available for loan from the film lending collection at the National Film and Sound Archive,Canberra. Ufern is available only on 16mm. For those without access to 16mm projection it can be viewed by arrangement at NFSA centres in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne (ACMI). La Habanera is also available for loan from the NFSA on dvd. Zu Neuen Ufern (unsubtitled) and La Habanera (with english subtitles) and Schlussakkord (unsubtitled) are on YouTube.
Babington, Bruce and Peter Evans. “All That Heaven Allowed : Another Look at Sirkian Irony.” Movie 34/5 1990.
Basinger, Jeanine. “The Lure of the Gilded Cage” (All I Desire and There's Always Tomorrow). Bright Lights, Winter 1977-78.
Belton, John. “Ironic Distance in Douglas Sirk's First Legion.” Cinema Stylists. The Scarecrow Press, 1983.
Bordwell, David, “The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice.” Poetics of Cinema, Routledge, 2008.
Bourget, Jean-Loup. “Sirk and the Critics.” Bright Lights 2.2, Winter 1977-78.
Brody, Richard. “Douglas Sirk's Glorious Cinema of Outsiders.” The New Yorker, 21.12.15. Online.
Camper, Fred. “The Tarnished Angels.” Screen 12.1, 1971.
----- “The Films of Douglas Sirk: The Epistemologist of Despair.” The Chicago Reader,14.4, 200 Also online.
Combs, Richard. “Schlussakkord/ Final Chord.” Monthly Film Bulletin April 1978; “Hitler's Madman.” MFB, September 1978.
Cunningham, Stuart. “The “Force-Field” Of Melodrama.” Quarterly Review of Film Studies, 6.4, 1981.
Coursodon, Jean-Pierre. American Directors Volume 1. McGraw-Hill, 1983.
Danks, Adrian. “The Far Side of Paradise”: Douglas Sirk's There's Always Tomorrow.”Annotations on Film, Senses of Cinema 37.
Doane, Mary Anne Marie. The Desire to Desire. Indiana University Press, 1987. Ch. 3.
Elsaesser, Thomas. “Tales of Sound and Fury: Observations on Family Melodrama.” Monogram 4, 1972. Also in Gledhill ed., op.cit.
----- The Persistence of Hollywood. Routledge 2012.
Fassbinder, Rainer Werner. “Fassbinder on Sirk.” Trans. Thomas Elsaesser. Film Comment 11.6 1975.
Flaus, John. “There's Always Tomorrow”. 1995 Annotations on Film. National Cinematheque of Australia.
Gallagher, Tag. “Douglas Sirk: White Melodrama” Film Comment 34.6 1998. Also alternative version in Senses of Cinema 36, 2006.
Gledhill, Christine. “The Melodramatic Field:An Investigation.” Home is Where the Heart Is. Gledhill ed., BFI Publishing,1987.
Gemunden, Gerd. “Introduction to the special issue on Douglas Sirk.” Film Criticism, v.23 2-3, 1999.
Hake, Sabine. “ The Melodramatic Imagination of Detlef Sierck.” Screen 38.2, Summer 1997.
Halliday, Jon. Sirk on Sirk. Faber and Faber. Revised ed. 1997.
Handzo, Stephen. “Intimations of Lifelessness: Sirk's Ironic Tear-Jerker.” Bright Lights 2.2, Winter 1977-78.
Haskell, Molly. From Reverence to Rape; The Treatment of Women in the Movies. Holt Reinhardt and Winston, 1974.
Hoberman, J. “Written on the Wind,” review 10/27/87 reprinted The Village Voice Film Guide, ed. Dennis Lim. John Wiley, 2007.
Hunter, Ross. “Magnificent Obsession,” American Film. 13.6 1988.
Jacobowitz, Florence, Richard Lippe. “Douglas Sirk 1900-1987. Cineaction 52, 2000.
Kleinhans, Chuck. “Notes on Melodrama and the Family Under Capitalism.” Film Reader 3, Northwestern University 1978.
Klinger, Barbara. Melodrama and Meaning: History, Culture and Meaning in the films of Douglas Sirk. Indiana Uni. Press, 1994.
Koch, Gertrud. “From Detlef Sierck to Douglas Sirk.” Trans. by Gerd Gemunden. Film Criticism, 23.2-3, Winter/Spring 1999.
Koepnick, Lutz. “Sirk and the Culture Industry: Zu neun Ufern and The First Legion.” Film Criticism, 23.2-3,Winter/Spring 1999.
Lawrence, Amy. “Trapped in a Tomb...: The Reckless Moment and There's Always Tomorrow.” Film Criticism, v23,2-3 1999.
Petley, Julian. “ Sirk in Germany.” Sight and Sound, Winter, 1987/8.
Martin, Adrian. Mise en Scène and Film Style.Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
----- “ Mise en Scène.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory, 2014.
Mulvey, Laura. “It will be a magnificent obsession.” Melodrama: stage picture screen. Eds. Bratton, Cook, Gledhill. BFI, 1994.
----- “ Douglas Sirk and Melodrama.” The Australian Journal of Screen Theory 3, 1977..
----- “ Notes on Sirk and Melodrama.” Movie 25. 1977/78. Also in Gledhill ed., op.cit.
Neale, Steve. “Douglas Sirk.” Framework 5, Winter 1976/77.
Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. “Minelli (sic) and Melodrama. The Austalian Journal of Screen Theory 3, 1977. Also in Gledhill ed., op.cit.
Rappaport, Mark. “From the Sirk-Hudson Collection.” The Criterion Collection. Online.
Rohdie, Sam. “Education and Criticism.” Screen v12.1 1971; Editorial for the Douglas Sirk issue. Screen 12.2, 1971/2.
Ryan, Tom. “Sirk, Hollywood and Genre.” Senses of Cinema 66, 2013.
----- “The Adaptation and Remake from Stahl's When Tomorrow Comes to Sirk's Interlude.” Senses of Cinema 70.
----- “Obsession, Imitation, Subversions.” Senses of Cinema 73, 2014.
----- “The Blankness of the Happy Ending: Sirk's Uncomfortable Comedies.” Senses of Cinema 74, 2015
Sarris, Andrew. The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968. A Dutton Paperback. 1968.
Schatz, Thomas. Hollywood Genres. Random House, 1981.
Selig, Michael. “Hollywood Melodramas, Douglas Sirk, and the repression of the female subject.” Genders, Fall 1997.
Sheean, Henry. “Douglas Sirk – Part 1” Henry Sheean – film criticism and commentary. November 2002. Online
Smith, Robert E. “Love Affairs That Always Fade.” Bright Lights 2.2, Winter 1977-8.
Sontag, Susan. “Notes on 'Camp' ” Against Interpretation. Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1967.
Staggs, Sam. Born to be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life. St Martin's Press, 2009.
Stern, Michael. Douglas Sirk. Twayne, 1979.
----- “Patterns of Power and Potency, Repression and Violence: Sirk's Films of the Fifties.” Velvet Light Trap 16, 1976.
Thomson, David. The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. Knopf, 2014.
----- “The Tarnished Angels.” Have You Seen...? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films. Knopf, 2008.
Walker, Michael. “All I Desire”. Movie 34/5, 1990.
Wasson, Sam. “Bigger Than Life: The Picture, the Production, the Press.” Senses of Cinema 38, 2006.
Willemen, Paul. “Distanciation and Douglas Sirk”. Screen 12.1, 1971.
----- “Towards an Analysis of the Sirkian System.” Screen 13.4 1972-3.
See also “In authenticity: Douglas Sirk and the Sirkian Melodrama.” Introduction and bibliography of resources on Sirk, Film Studies For Free blog, 2010.
In a blog titled Oxford Bibliographies (cinema and media studies) there are a series of annotated bibliographies, prepared and introduced by Willy Scheibel, of writing on Sirk grouped into a range of aspects of his cinema and career such as career overviews and appreciation, interviews, film by film criticism, Sirk's mise en scene, styles of melodrama, etc. It appears to be updated from time to time, the most recent being in February 2016.
Interview by Michael Stern 1977, published in Bright Lights, Winter 1977-8.
Interview by Mark Shivas for the BBC, 1979, an extra on the dvd release of Imitation of Life, Madman Director's Suite.