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Written on the Wind

(1956 c 99')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Adapted from Robert Wilder’s novel, a wealthy son of an oil man marries a woman quickly while his best friend is pursued by his sister, who is a nymphomaniac.

         Kyle Hadley (Robert Stack) drives his sports car fast and comes home to his mansion on a windy night. A calendar is blown back from November 6, 1956 to October 24, 1955.

         Lucy Moore (Lauren Bacall) writes on the calendar in her office with paintings of modern art for Hadley Motor Oil. Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson) walks in and asks what happened to her predecessor. She recognizes him as Kyle’s friend. He asks for her boss, but she says he is out of town. He asks her to go to a conference with Kyle. They talk in the back of a cab as they go into the city. He suggests they are similar.

         At 21 Kyle is drinking with two women and sees Mitch come in and meets Lucy. They sit at a table and drink champagne. Kyle questions Lucy, who says she may end up with a husband. He offers to entertain her, but she has a career in advertising. He says he will buy the agency, and she calls his bluff. He asks for the phone number, and she tells him to forget it. She asks Mitch what he does, and Kyle says they are trouble-shooters. Mitch says he is a geologist. Kyle suggests she go back to her office, and they leave. Mitch buys cigarettes and sees Kyle leave in the cab with Lucy. In the cab Kyle tells the driver to go to the airport. He wants to show her he is different up in the blue.

         Kyle and Lucy board his private jet and find Mitch inside. Kyle flies the plane and has Lucy sit next to him. Kyle says he grew up with Mitch, and he admires his father, who is a hunter. Kyle says he was kicked out of college. He says his family would be disappointed if he did not behave like a playboy. He says his kid sister Marylee is even wilder. Kyle wants to swim and suggests Miami. They ask Lucy, and she agrees. Kyle says he is falling for her.

         Mitch and Lucy are drinking coffee in a restaurant, and he says Kyle may buy her something. She says she is getting to like Kyle, and Mitch says he is glad. She asks when their game ends, but Mitch says for him it never seems to end.

         The three check into a hotel, and they go into Miss Moore’s suite which has beautiful flowers. Kyle opens a drawer and shows her a choice of purses. In the closet she finds expensive dresses. The make-up table is also loaded. He says the telephone is a great invention and says he will see her later.

         In another room Kyle and Mitch talk about her and have a drink. Later Kyle goes into Lucy’s room and asks if she is decent, but he can’t find her. He learns she went to the airport. He takes a cab and finds her on a plane. He asks her to give him an hour until the next plane leaves. She gets up and leaves the plane with him.

         Kyle and Lucy sit at a table in a restaurant and talk. She says she was tempted, but he made it easy to overcome. He asks if he talked too much. She says something happened to her. They go upstairs, and he says he will put her on the next plane to New York. He says he wants to start over again with her. He asks if he can come to New York to work and go on a date with her. He would like to have a wife and home and kids. He says he is in love with her and wants to marry her. He kisses her.

         Mitch is packing things in a room when the Miami reporter Jack Williams (William Shallert) comes in and asks him about the wedding. Williams says a marriage license was issued to Kyle Hadley and Lucy Moore. Mitch tells him the wedding happened two hours ago.

         Kyle and Lucy are in a large bed. She gets up and puts the pillow under his head, revealing a small gun.

         In work clothes Mitch drives his car into town and goes into the office of Jasper Hadley (Robert Keith), who asks him to sit down. They discuss a new oil well, and Jasper asks about Kyle. Mitch says it has been only five weeks. Jasper hopes that Mitch will marry Marylee, but Mitch sees her as a sister. Kyle and Lucy walk in, and Jasper kisses her. Jasper asks to talk to her alone. He asks her if she has been to the house and met Marylee. She says Marylee was not there. Jasper admits he thought she was a gold-digger until he talked to Mitch. She says he trusts Mitch more than Kyle, and she asks him to give Kyle a chance. Jasper asks if Kyle has been drinking a lot. She mentions the pistol under his pillow. She says she knows about his anxieties and fears. She says he threw it in the ocean.

         Kyle and Mitch are talking, and Mitch gets a call that the Hadley gal is there. Kyle insists on going himself.

         Marylee Hadley (Dorothy Malone) is talking with Roy Carter, who steps aside and asks the Dan Willis (Robert J. Wilke) for a key for privacy. Dan goes in the next room, and Roy plays the jukebox. Kyle and Mitch come in, and Kyle tells Roy to leave his sister alone. Kyle hits Roy, and they fight while Marylee drinks. Roy knocks out Kyle and tries to leave with Marylee, but Mitch stops him. Roy picks up a knife, and Dan with a gun tells Roy to stop it. Roy starts to leave but then hits Dan. Mitch fights with Roy and knocks him out. Kyle asks Dan for the gun, and Mitch tells him to forget it. Kyle says he will kill him and walks out, followed by Marylee and Mitch.

Marylee in her sports-car smiles at Mitch, and he gets in. She drives through country with oil wells. She tells Mitch he grew up and left her. She hates Kyle for taking Mitch away from her. She says she loves him and is desperate. Mitch says she can blame him. She asks if he loves her, and he says he does as a brother. He tells her not to waste her life waiting for him. She wants him, marriage or no marriage.

         Marylee welcomes Lucy to Hadley and says her husband should mind his own business. Marylee asks Lucy what she thinks of Mitch. Marylee loves Mitch and says he always helps Kyle get out of trouble. Marylee calls Lucy wet behind the ears.

         Mitch and his father, Hoak Wayne (Harry Shannon), are returning from hunting with dogs and talk. Mitch says he is thinking of going to Iran for another company. He is in love with Kyle’s wife, but he says it is one-sided.

         Marylee throws a stone in a pond and remembers her childhood with Mitch and how she loved him; she cries.

         Many people are attending a party at the Hadleys. Marylee finds Mitch in a dark room and hands him a drink. She reminds him of the afternoons they used to spend there. He admires her revealing dress. She says Kyle has been married a whole year and is still sober. She is about to kiss him, and he suggests they dance.

         Jasper gives Lucy a diamond necklace, and Kyle asks for another big party with the stork. Mitch and Marylee are dancing, and she takes another partner. Kyle asks Dr. Paul Cochrane (Edward Platt) to see Lucy in his office, and he says she has been seeing him. Kyle asks if she can have children, and Paul says there is nothing wrong with her. Mitch is dancing with Lucy, and they go over to Kyle, who declines to dance with her.

         Mitch finds Marylee in his car with a basket, and she suggests lunch. They have a picnic by the pond. He asks her if Kyle had a spat with Lucy. Marylee says he criticized her this morning. She gets a bottle, and he opens it.

         Kyle meets Dr. Cochrane at a restaurant. He tells Kyle that tests show his weakness, but he is not sterile. Kyle gets up and walks out.

         Marylee answers the phone. Mitch says Kyle invited them to the country club. Marylee says not to bother unless he has an exciting evening in mind.

Marylee drives her sports-car and stops for gas, and she flirts with Biff Miley (Grant Williams), who agrees to go with her.

         At the country club Lucy meets Mitch, and they find Kyle at the bar. Kyle asks about his sister, but Mitch does not know where she is. Kyle says the truth is not beautiful and drinks. Kyle says his drought is over. He makes a joke about Vermouth and laughs.

         Cops go to a motel where Marylee’s car is parked.

         Jasper talks business on the phone. Mitch carries Kyle in, and Jasper asks Lucy where they were. She tells Jasper that Kyle is tormented, and she will try to help him. She finds Kyle in bed talking deliriously. She sits down and listens to him. He tells Mitch they were not stealing.

         Jasper tells Mitch he could not keep his wife alive with his money. He says he failed his wife and both his children. The Hadley police bring Marylee home, and she walks upstairs. Jasper questions Biff, who says she picked him up. He tells Jasper that she often picks up men. He tells Jasper his daughter is a tramp. Mitch stops Jasper from using a gun. Mitch asks Biff to keep it quiet, and Biff thanks him and leaves with the cop.

         In her room Marylee puts on music and dances. She looks at Mitch’s picture and takes off her dress. Jasper walks upstairs, collapses, and rolls down the stairs. Mitch picks him up.

         A black butler (Roy Glenn) removes a mourning wreath from the front gate. Lucy sits by Kyle, who is in bed. They talk, and he blames himself and his sister for his father’s death. Lucy asks him if he loves her; but he says he does not even love himself. He says he is afraid of being buried by snow.

         Mitch is reading many telegrams consoling them for Jasper’s death. Lucy brings in coffee and sits down. He says it is time for him to leave. She asks if he is bored. He says he is disgusted with himself. She says she needs him, and he says that is why he stayed. She asks him about Kyle, and he says his resolution is “to hell with the Hadleys.” She says she is a Hadley. She asks him where he is going. He says he is going to see his dad. She asks him for a ride to town.

         Mitch drives Lucy, and Marylee and Kyle see them leave. She tells Kyle they will be left alone someday. She says she saw the end of a marriage and the beginning of a love affair. He calls her a filthy liar. Marylee says she has never had Mitch, but his wife has. Kyle slaps her.

         In town Lucy asks Mitch to pick her up in an hour, but he suggests she take a taxi. She says she will be waiting for him at the drugstore and walks away.

         Mitch’s dad asks him when he is leaving for Iran. Mitch is planning to take a tanker. His dad asks about Kyle and his wife and how she feels about Mitch. He says he will find out in an hour or so.

         Mitch picks up Lucy, and they walk. He tells her he is going to Iran for an oil company. He admits he is in love with her and kisses her. She tells him that Kyle wants children, but Dr. Cochrane told him he may never have them. She says she is going to have a baby. She kisses Mitch goodbye and gets in the car.

         Marylee is waiting in the driveway. Mitch drives up and asks her where Kyle is. She says he went away.

         At the Cove Dan gives Kyle a bottle in a brown bag. Kyle takes out the bottle and starts drinking from it. A phone call is for Kyle, but he shakes his head.

         The butler serves dinner to Lucy, Marylee, and Mitch. They hear a car arriving, and Kyle comes in drunk and sits down. He asks for a cocktail. Lucy goes over to him and asks him to go upstairs. She helps him up the stairs, and they sit down in the bedroom. He suspects bad news, but she says the news is good. She says she saw the doctor, and they are going to have a baby. He laughs and thinks she means adoption. She says she is pregnant. He says no and says she should not have done that to him. She asks what he means, and he says Mitch. He says he is not an idiot. He slaps her, and she screams.

         Mitch hears and goes up and finds Lucy on the floor. He throws Kyle down and orders him to get out before he kills him. Kyle goes down the stairs and out the door. Mitch picks up Lucy and lays her on the bed. He calls Dr. Cochrane.

         Marylee comes out of her room, and Dr. Cochrane tells Mitch that Lucy had a miscarriage. Mitch tells him that Kyle had no cause.

Kyle drives his sports-car to the Cove and sits at the bar. Dan suggests he see a doctor but gets him a bottle. Kyle gives him money and wants to buy a gun, but Dan gives him his money back. Kyle leaves and drives fast.

         Lucy in bed asks Mitch not to go. She asks him to take her away. He says he will in the morning, but she says no and embraces him. She asks where Kyle is, and Mitch says he may settle with him. Kyle returns home, and Mitch from the window sees him drinking. Kyle comes in and looks for the gun but cannot find one. He breaks dishes and grabs a bottle of liquor. He pulls books off shelves and finds a pistol. Mitch comes in, and Kyle threatens to shoot him. Kyle blames him for making him small and for stealing his wife. Marylee comes in behind Kyle while Mitch is talking to Kyle about how he took blame for Kyle. He says he never touched Lucy. He says the child would have been Kyle’s. Marylee stops Kyle from shooting Mitch, and Kyle is wounded. He says he will be at the river, and Mitch calls for an ambulance.

         At breakfast the newspaper reports the Hadley inquest. Marylee tells Mitch that she could tell the police that Mitch killed her brother, but a wife could not testify against her husband. Mitch says she is ugly sometimes. He asks if he would be enough for her. She threatens to send him to prison. He advises her to get wise to herself.

         At the inquest Dr. Cochrane testifies that Mitch said Kyle had better not come back there. The butler and his wife testify about other threats. Dan says that Kyle told him his best friend tried to kill him. Lucy says that Mitch did not kill her husband, but she admits he threatened to kill Kyle. Marylee is questioned by the judge. He asks her where she was when Kyle was shot. She says her brother was killed by Mitch. Reporters rush out. She says Kyle had a gun in his hand, and Mitch tried to talk to him to stop him using the gun. Marylee says she grabbed for the gun; they struggled, and the gun went off. She says Mitch was worried about Kyle. The judge asks why Kyle would want to kill himself. She says he was depressed and was drinking heavily. She says he was sad and needed so much.

         Marylee sits inside the house as Mitch drives off with Lucy.

         This soap opera depicts a wealthy oil family in which the son and daughter have been spoiled rotten. They both respect and love Mitch, and Lucy discovers that her husband is weak and alcoholic. The strong characters survive, and the weak ones make a mess of their lives.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

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