In 1959 Douglas Sirk left Hollywood and never turned back, effectively ending his three decade long career. He eventually returned to Germany, the place he was born, and at a certain point started teaching at a film school in Munich. It was at this film school, Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film, where he directed a couple of short films with his students. It’s the last of those films, “Bourbon Street Blues,” that’s recently been unearthed and you can view the 25-minute short in its entirety below.
What is, perhaps, most notable about “Bourbon Street Blues” is the appearance of Rainer Werner Fassbinder who plays a resident in the building where the film is set. The short follows a woman living in a run-down apartment who’s being chided by her landlady for failing to pay rent. While it’s a much darker film, aesthetically, than what we’re used to from Sirk, it still features his signature melodrama. And it’s quite a trip to see Fassbinder in a film co-directed by one of his heroes. Fassbinder’s film “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul,” in particular, is known to have been very strongly influenced by Sirk’s 1955 film “All That Heaven Allows.”
The quality isn’t all that strong and the subtitles don’t always match the dialogue, but it’s still definitely worth the watch if you’re a fan of Sirk or Fassbinder. Perhaps a better version of the short can be found in a future Blu-ray release of “Imitation of Life”? We’re looking at you, Criterion Collection. [The Seventh Art]