Apr 16

Hollywood Tearjerkers of the 1950s: Films of Douglas Sirk

Sandy Frieden, Ph.D.

“Heaven is stingy,” said Douglas Sirk, who fled Hitler’s Germany to direct Hollywood’s most popular films of the 1950s…and all of them melodramas looking ironically at American life as artifice and parody, where values are questioned, everyone is an outsider, and materialism is celebrated. Are they emotionally overwrought soap operas or subversive critiques?

Sirk inspired many filmmakers - including Rainer Fassbinder, Todd Haynes and Guillermo del Toro (who thanked Sirk in his Academy Award acceptance speech for The Shape of Water). What is it about Sirk’s style and approach that others have emulated?

Each week we will have an introduction to the film, then watch the film together in class and follow with discussion. We’ll examine how to apply the film’s historical context, how to interpret cinematic elements, and how Sirk structures his films to grab us and not let go. The more we analyze them, the more you’ll come to love and appreciate these films.

These films are definitely fun to watch - we’ll follow Lana Turner, Rock Hudson, Jane Wyman, Lauren Bacall and other big stars as they wring our hearts out.

Five-Week Course Schedule | Tuesdays | 3 Hours
Apr 16: La Habanera (1937) | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Apr 23: All that Heaven Allows (1955) | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Apr 30: Magnificent Obsession (1954) | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

May 07: Written on the Wind (1956) | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

May 14: Imitation of Life (1959) | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

This class will be held in-person at WIH



Class Tuition

42 in stock

Price is per student. Class tuition is non-refundable.