The opening of Written on the Wind is one of my favourites, even if relatively new to me. Directed by Douglas Sirk in 1956, the film depicts an unraveling web of unrequited love and desperation. In recent times, Sirk has been reclaimed as a director whose seemingly one-dimensional films have been debunked as the films they were once assumed to be. Look beyond the surface and you find scathing indictments of American conformity and family values. Whether or not this true is up for debate, but there's no denying he was a master of control. Visually, his films demonstrate an outstanding eye for detail and style. Though entirely constructed, it's a world designed to appear realer than real.
The opening hits like you a speeding car, because that's what it is. In the evening light, Robert Stack speeds towards an unknown destination - roof down, pissed off and bottle of booze in hand. In the background, The Four Aces gentle crooning sits perfectly with the frenetic editing and disorientating pace. Made more powerful because we don't understand why the people are behaving the way they are. Vivid set design and lighting set the mood wonderfully, and immediately we're transported into a quite remarkable world that can only be described as pure cinema.
The entire film is available to watch on Youtube, along with a number of other Sirk films: