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Oct 09 2014

Episode 35: Emotional Turgidity

0035 SirkThis week, dear listeners, we get down and dirty with the Birdchick (aka world-renowned birdwatcher and author Sharon Stiteler) for an episode all about film director Douglas Sirk! Now, don’t worry if you don’t know anything about Mr. Sirk’s films, because we do our very best to drunk-describe the awesome, plump melodramas that make up Mr. Sirk’s American ouvre.

Helping us on our journey was a lovely bottle of Lagavulin 16 scotch, which definitely gave us the right frame of mind to discuss 1950s melodramas.

And once again, we have to apologize for some sound issues. During the recording of this episode, we could have filled out a Audio Interference Bingo Card: a neighbor’s barking dog, police sirens, a small child, a chatty husband, an oscillating fan, a rainstorm, and a tornado siren. We were able to remove some of it from the episode, and and then work around the rest. Thus, the audio starts fine, and then slowly gets a bit burbly at the end.

Anyway, show notes behind the cut!

Douglas Sirk movies mentioned:
Lured (1947)
Taza, Son of Cochise (1954)
Magnificent Obsession (1954)
All that Heaven Allows (1955)
Written on the Wind (1956)
Tarnished Angels (1957)
Imitation of Life (1959)

Other movies mentioned:
Far from Heaven
The Robe

People mentioned:
Douglas Sirk
Rock Hudson
Lana Turner
Ingmar Bergman
Sandra Dee
Jane Wyman
Agnes Moorehead
Julianne Moore
Lauren Bacall
Robert Stack
Dorothy Malone
Peter Dinklage
Daniel Craig
Sam Neill
David Bowie

3 comments

  1. @PedanticEric

    I’m so glad you guys talked about “Far From Heaven” in the context of this discussion. Before I even saw the movie, a coworker at the time who knew I liked classic movies brought it up and told me it was homage to Douglas Sirk. I was grateful because I hadn’t even heard about it, and it turned out to be an excellent film. Also, they recruited Elmer Bernstein to write the score, which is gorgeous. He apparently resisted at first because they wanted him as a movie composer from that era, but he’d been doing lots of jazz inspired stuff and the sweeping melodramatic music wasn’t in his wheelhouse at all.

    “Imitation Of Life” is so epically melodramatic but as you discussed, Sirk’s films could be heavy handed on the surface but that often masked some undertone of social justice commentary.

  2. @PedanticEric

    Gah, Criterion is doing a half off sale on anything in stock, there’s only a half hour left. But this is available:
    http://www.criterion.com/films/635-all-that-heaven-allows

    1. Melissa

      I… spent a lot of money.

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