Written on the Wind

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Written on the Wind is a 1956 film about the frenzied dynamics within a self-destructing, filthy-rich Texas oil family.

Directed by Douglas Sirk. Written by George Zuckerman, based on the novel by Robert Wilder.
The story of a family's ugly secret and the stark moment that thrust their private lives into public view! taglines
Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.

Kyle Hadley

  • My sidekick...He's eccentric. He's poor...Mitch is just a country boy. The kind of assets he's got you can't buy with money.
  • He [his father] wanted me to grow up with Mitch...Mitch's old man is my dad's boyhood pal -- his idol, I guess. A small rancher -- kind of a legend in our country. A great hunter, sort of a throwback to Daniel Boone. I used to wish he was my father...Dad's a big man -- so big that he and I know I can't fit his shoes, or even come close to him.
  • It's easy to talk like this when you're 6,000 feet above the big poker table...Down there, I'm a guy with too many chips. I throw 'em up in the air and a few land on my shoulders. Hellfire, they'd be disappointed if I didn't behave like a playboy -- didn't end up like my uncle.
  • [about his sister, Marylee] She's got enough devil in her to put Uncle Joe and me in the shade.
  • [to Lucy] Something is happening to me. I find myself talking to you like I never talked to anyone before -- not even Mitch...I think we're past the point of no return.
  • Lucy, you decent? Lucy, are you dec---? [realizing she has left] I guess she was.
  • [to Lucy] I'm...sorrier than I've ever been in my whole sorry life.
  • [to Lucy] Not to play, but to work, to behave like, like Tom, Dick, and Harry. I-I'd ask you for dates, take you to lunches, to the movies. I'd be happy with a good night kiss. I'd think seriously about all the things I used to laugh at, like having a wife and a home and kids. Right now, there's one thing you don't have to suppose. I'm in love with you. So much so that I want to marry you.
  • Somebody just stole my magic dancing slippers.
  • Me and my darling sister - we pushed Dad down the stairs.
  • Somebody tried to kill me...My best friend.
  • [after being shot] What are we doing here, Mitch?...Let's go down to the river where we belong. I'll be down at the river, waiting, waiting.

Mitch Wayne

  • [to Lucy] Kyle's probably arranging to buy you the hotel, a stretch of the beach and a slice of the Gulf Stream.
  • [to Kyle] I had Lucy figured wrong...I figured she'd be different than all the rest...If she were, she'd have spit right in your eye.
  • I'm in love with a woman that happens to be Kyle's wife...Strictly one-sided.
  • [to Lucy] I can't keep holding back how I feel about you, Lucy. How I've felt ever since the first day we met. I'm in love with you.

Lucy Moore Hadley

  • [to Kyle] I took a sudden dislike to the suite...Oh, it was beautiful at first glance. Then I thought how ugly it would be - in the morning.
  • [to Jasper] I know all about his anxieties and fears. You can forget about the pistol. Kyle threw it in the ocean.

Marylee Hadley

  • [to Mitch] You do care about me, don't you?
  • I'm allergic to politeness.
  • [to Lucy] Oh, there's a man for you - or for me, rather. Kyle starts something. Mitch finishes it for him. Kyle falls on his face. Mitch picks him up. Kyle steals. Mitch takes the blame. And there you have the secret story of Kyle Hadley and his electric personality.
  • [about Kyle and Lucy] It can't last much longer...There's only so much a woman can do, and no more.
  • I can think of much better things than making small talk.
  • Mitch Wayne was there - in the study with my brother. Kyle had a gun in his hand. He was raving mad, raving about things that weren't so. Mitch tried to talk to him, to make him understand how wrong he was, to stop him from using the gun. Afraid he might even use it on himself. I made a grab for the gun. Kyle and I struggled. The gun went off....Whatever he may have said, means nothing. Except he was worried about Kyle, as a brother for a brother...(Kyle)...was depressed by Father's sudden death and he'd been drinking...My brother always drank too much. He was sad, the saddest of us all. He needed so much and had so little.


  • Dan Willis: [to Kyle] If I were one of the richest men in the world, I wouldn't be sitting in a place like this drinking raw corn...I'd be over at the country club, drinking bonded bourbon. Nothing but...


Lucy: [To Mitch] Just what do you do for the Hadley Oil Company?
Kyle: [interrupting] We're troubleshooters. Wherever they want trouble, they send for us.
Mitch: I, uh, have a sheepskin that says I'm a geologist.
Kyle: ...I was kicked out of the same school. They found rocks in my head.

Lucy: I'd like to get off the merry-go-round.
Kyle: Once we get up in the blue, I'm a different fella, a lot different from this character. I wouldn't admit this to anyone but you, but I drink too much.

Lucy: Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It's an adventure. It's exciting.
Mitch: Are you looking for laughs? Or are you soul-searching?
Lucy: The latter, I guess. I think I'm beginning to know Kyle - and to like him.
Mitch: Well, in that case, I'm glad.

Lucy: I was tempted.
Kyle: Was it easy to overcome?
Lucy: Yes, you made it easy.
'Kyle: How, by throwing my money at you?
Lucy: No. No, it wasn't that.
Kyle: What, then?
Lucy: It was the ride. 'Up in the blue' as you call it.
Kyle: Talked too much, didn't I?
Lucy: No. It was good talk. Only something happened to me, something as unexpected as the things you told me. I tried to tell myself it was, I don't know, sympathy, compassion. But it was more.

Jasper: It's about time you got hitched, isn't it?
Mitch: No, I-I have trouble enough finding oil.
Jasper: I sure wish you felt different about Marylee.
Mitch: We grew up together, like brother and sister. I just can't see it any other way.
Jasper: Yeah. It's a shame, though, in a way. It's a real shame.

Marylee: Then you grew up and left me, you and Kyle, the rover boys. I guess that's why I hate him so, for taking you away from me. I love you, Mitch. I'm desperate for you. So desperate, I run to the likes of Roy Carter.
Mitch: All right, blame me.
Marylee: I'm not talking about blame. About love. Do you love me, Mitch?
Mitch: Like a brother.
Marylee: I don't want you as a brother.
Mitch: Can't be any other way, Marylee. Don't, please don't waste your life waiting for me.
Marylee: I'll wait, and I'll have you - marriage or no marriage.

Young Kyle: Bet you can't throw that far, Mitch.
Young Marylee: Mitch can do everything better than you, Kyle.
Young Kyle: Shut up, Marylee.
Young Marylee: Throw it, Mitch. You made it, Mitch!
Young Kyle: Last one across is a rotten egg.
Young Mitch: Hey, what's that purple stuff on your lips?
Young Marylee: Mulberry juice. Looks like lipstick, doesn't it?
Young Mitch: Yeah, sure does.
Young Marylee: Mitch? Am I beautiful?
Young Mitch: Uh-huh.
Young Marylee: Do you love me?
Young Mitch: Sure, you're my girl.
Young Marylee: When we grow up, you'll marry me, won't you, Mitch? I love you so much.

Kyle: A toast to - to beauty - and the truth, which is anything but beautiful...This is an occasion. We must proceed with, with quiet dignity...
Mitch: What are we celebrating?
Kyle: The end of a drought, a year-long drought.
Mitch: We drank a toast to truth.
Kyle: So?
Mitch: So you ought to let us in on what you're really celebrating - or mourning.
Kyle: So you'd like to know my secret. The secret is - not to pour the vermouth, just to pretend you're pouring it.

Biff: [about Marylee] That's how she operates....I never heard of anybody ever picking her up, that's all. It's always the other way around.
Jasper: How do you know?
Biff: Why don't you just walk up and down Main Street and ask somebody, huh?
Jasper: I'm asking you!
Biff: ...I didn't take her to the motel. She took me. Your daughter's a tramp, mister. If that ain't plain enough for ya...

Lucy: Do you love me?
Kyle: Love you? I don't even love myself.
Lucy: Kyle, what is it? Is it something I've said or something I've done or should have done?
Kyle: I can't tell you. I'm afraid. It's like I was deep in a mountain pass, snowcaps hanging over my head. If I make a sound, snow might all come tumbling down. Bury me - alive.

Lucy: Bored?
Mitch: Disgusted. Mostly with myself.
Lucy: But I - I need you here.
Mitch: That's the only reason I stayed - to help you.
Lucy: Not Kyle?
Mitch: I made a resolution last week. It goes like this - To Hell With The Hadleys.
Lucy: I'm a Hadley.
Mitch: Not to me you're not.
Lucy: I respect my marriage.
Mitch: Haven't I?

Marylee: That was no lady. That was your wife.
Kyle: Where are they going?
Marylee: I don't know. Where would you take your best friend's wife?
Kyle: You're a real sweet kid.
Marylee: Now be nice to me, brother. One morning we'll wake up, and we'll be all alone together.
Kyle: Go on, sister. Tell me another pretty story.
Marylee: Once upon a time, there was a poor little rich boy.
Kyle: Kyle Hadley by name.
Marylee: Who pickled his tiny brain with gin and bourbon.
Kyle: Not so. Scotch.
Marylee: Till he got so stinking blind, he couldn't see what was going on right under his big red nose.
Kyle: But his charming, righteous little sister did.
Marylee: Yes, she saw the end of a marriage and the beginning of a love affair.
Kyle: You're a filthy liar.
Marylee: I'm filthy - period. But you don't have to take my word for anything. Just try keeping your head clear and your eyes open.
Kyle: Why should you care? You've never cared about me.
Marylee: Or your wife.
Kyle: Why are you putting your two cents in?
Marylee: Only because of Mitch. Because I've never had him, and your wife has.
[Kyle slaps her across the face, reaches for a drink, and splashes his reflected mirror image with the alcohol]

Lucy: [telling him that she is pregnant] Kyle, it's true.
Kyle: You shouldn't have done that to me. You shouldn't have.
Lucy: What are you talking about?
Kyle: Mitch. You and the Mitch.
Lucy: Don't say that Kyle. Don't even think it.
Kyle: What did you think? You think I was just a drunken idiot? That I'd believe you? That I'd let you use my name? Take my money? You can rot in hell! You, Mitch, and your little...
Lucy: Kyle, I've had nothing to do with Mitch.
Kyle: [striking out with rage] You dirty tramp!

LucyTake me away, Mitch. Take me out of this house...Now. I'm afraid.
Mitch: I won't leave you.

Kyle: [pointing a gun at Mitch] You lousy white trash. You no-account, two-faced dog. I'm gonna watch you cringe. Then I'm gonna put a bullet in your belly...my best friend. My lifelong pal. What a laugh! You crawlin' snake. You crept in here, sponged off us Hadleys, stole everything I ever wanted, everything I ever had...You made me small in my father's eyes. You made my sister spit at me. Then, you stole my wife.
Mitch: Kyle, we've never lied to each other. And I'm tellin' you now, I never touched Lucy, only because she's your wife. Get this straight. The child would have been yours. Not mine. Yours.

Marylee: I could tell the police that I saw you kill my dear brother.
Mitch: You could.
Marylee: On the other hand, a wife wouldn't and couldn't testify against her own husband.
Mitch: You know, for a beautiful girl, you can look real ugly sometimes. Ask yourself this: Would I ever be enough for you?
Marylee: I could talk you right into the state penitentiary.
Mitch: You're sick, Marylee. Your sickness won't be cured by marrying me. Before it's too late, you'd better face up to yourself. Look how far we've come from the river.


  • The story of a family's ugly secret and the stark moment that thrust their private lives into public view!
  • This woman in his arms was now the wife of the man he called his best friend!


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