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These seven films covered the decade of the fifties, starting with Has Anyone Seen My Gal? and finishing with what has to be the ultimate full blown melodrama 'Imitation of Life', cemented Sirk's reputation and future. His influence is still felt today in the work of Todd Haynes, Rainer Fassbinder, John Walters, Martin Scorsese and others.
Has Anyone Seen My Gal?: A rare comedy from Sirk, but still dealing with family issues and status. Samuel Futon (Charles Coburn) decides to leave his millions to the family of a lost love. However, he tests their worthiness by taking a room in the family home, working for the family business and secretly donating a large amount of money. A good cast of Universal contract players led by Piper Laurie and the emerging young Rock Hudson.
All I Desire Naomi Murdock played by Barbara Stanwyck, returns to the hometown she deserted to follow her acting career. She encounters much conflict with the people she left behind. Stanwyck goes to town in a very immoral and, certainly for the time, daring role as she flirts and tries to manipulate all around.
Magnificent Obsession: The one that really started it all and made Rock Hudson a star, in this classic love story with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster and just as bumpy. Rich spoilt brat, Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson) has an accident, using the only respirator in the town, thus causing the death of the local doctor. He then meets Helen (Jane Wyman) the doctor's widow, who takes an instant dislike to him. More tragedy follows as Helen is struck down by a car making her blind. This is Merrick's chance to redeem himself...
All That Heaven Allows: Wyman and Hudson together again in the melodramatic love story involving class and social standing, with Hudson as the young handsome gardener, attracting the attention of Wyman's rich widow; much to chagrin and animosity of family and towns folk. The film inspired Fassbinder's 'Fear Eats the Soul' and Todd Haynes' 'Far From Heaven'.
Written On The Wind: Hudson and Stack best friends from childhood, fall for Lauren Bacall, Stack's sister Dorothy Malone is in love with Hudson, and is a nymphomaniac. Love, lust, betrayal it's all here, lavishly shot with great sets and costumes, Sirk hitting his stride.
The Tarnished Angels: Reuniting the same leads from 'Written on the Wind', Hudson, Stack and Malone again in a love triangle, against a backdrop of daredevil flying.
Imitation Of Life: Lana Tuner, John Gavin, Sandra Dee, in what is most arguably, the ultimate five hanky weeping of all time. Dealing with race, family, fame and loss, by the time Mahalia Jackson sings at the end, everyone is in tatters.