Available only through the TCM website, the four-disc “Douglas Sirk: Filmmaker Collection” makes available a handful of Sirk titles that haven’t been previously released to DVD. No big Technicolor melodramas here: instead, there’s a thriller with a religious theme (“Thunder on the Hill,” 1951), a western (“Taza, Son of Cochise,” 1954), a swashbuckler (“Captain Lightfoot,” 1955) and a literary adaptation — “The Tarnished Angels” (1957), Sirk’s thorough transformation of William Faulkner’s “Pylon.” My New York Times review is here.
As interesting as it is to see Sirk working in other genres (and as an action filmmaker, he shows a surprising taste for graphic violence), the main attraction here is “Angels,” one of Sirk’s most personal projects and an exercise in mise-en-scène as stunning as anything to come out of Hollywood. But, like all of the discs in this package, “The Tarnished Angels” is presented here in a single-layer, DVD5 transfer — perfectly watchable, but significantly softer than the double layer version released in France by Carlotta.
The TCM presentation feels a little cheap, but then, so is the price — it’s being discounted to a reasonable $39.99. Let’s hope this is the first of many director’s packages to come out of TCM/Universal. The possibilities are endless: Whale, Cahn, Stahl, Siodmak, Boetticher, Fejos, Ophuls, Sherman, Wyler, Arnold, Edwards, etc.