This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
All That Heaven Allows
How much does Heaven Allow a Woman in Love?
Friends and family want a rich widow to end her romance with a tree surgeon about 15 years her junior.
i braced myself for disappointment at the start of this vaunted classic i've been dodging for years-- but i needn't have worried. it seems that growing up in soulless white suburbia, reading thoreau as a kid and knowing there was something- anything- beyond the nightmare of bourgeois conformity was just preparing me for this moment. i'm still stunned at how hard it hit me. my parents never understood but sirk did, and long before i was born
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
A deer enters the scene during the final image, as if to suggest that this union of widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) and Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson), her former gardener turned tree farmer, has been enshrined by God and Nature. Melodrama is a genre uniquely capable of fashioning such transcendental pairings, couples that simply must be together, and Sirk cultivates images of his couple that take them out of the coarse, material world and raise them up, turning them into icons, situating them in tableaux that would be familiar to the great religious painters of the Renaissance. He will either join them together against a natural backdrop of some sort, the kind that evokes the pastoralia of the great Romantic…
"Cary, let's face it: you were ready for a love affair, but not for love."
Lately I've been fascinated with melodrama, in particular the way its priorities differ from the expectations of what we might loosely refer to as a "good film". In general, we seem to want relatable characters in realistic situations which in turn evoke an emotional response; but in melodrama, everything is backwards. As Sidney Lumet once said, "In a well-written drama, the story comes out of the characters. The characters in a well-written melodrama come out of the story." Perhaps this is why the term has come to take on pejorative connotations in recent years: in melodrama, emotion comes first, even if it's at the expense…
God, the production design and cinematography, yes, and the withering portrait of repressive values, but sometimes I think that the artistic virtues of Sirk, of which there are many, are stressed as a means of justifying his chosen field of women's pictures, when even on a script level this is such a compelling movie, and so forcefully acted that its subtext, however key to the picture, is still the subtext under a direct swirl of emotions. It's all great, is what I'm saying. Why has it taken me so long to really dig into Sirk?
Douglas Sirk said that films need violence, a statement that some may find surprising, especially considering this one: an admittedly sappy melodrama about seemingly impossible love. But I think the most violent act in his films is a subtle (though effective) one that can be found within the so-called happy ending. He fulfills 50s Hollywood's need for perfectly wrapped up conclusion where everything is right and nothing is left unresolved- or at least this is what it's disguised as.
When the rest of the film is steeped in social problems and conflict, simply tying it up by having the protagonist follow their heart and topping it off by making it sickenly visually beautiful to the point of total falsity is…
Saw this on the big screen this afternoon, while everybody else was by the lake in their new bikinis. But I had myself a little bit of autumn leaves and Christmas trees and hung out with a deer. Lovely stuff, and an amazing experience to see Sirk big and in all its colourful splendor.
(I feel inspired to write a more extensive thing on this, I've been thinking about getting a blog or something, but I'm still undecided. I just wanna be able to post pictures and refer to them in my writing.)
this film had the most beautiful technicolor I have ever seen, honestly
Is this not the perfect balance of style and substance? The beauty of the Technicolor and the mounting distress of the characters are constantly trying to top each other. What a rich, satisfying, great movie.
All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955) 10/10
A middle class woman (Jane Wyman) incredulously observes how her life is boxed in for her by society, friends (Agnes Moorehead, Conrad Nagel) and her grown-up children (William Reynolds, Gloria Talbot) because of her status as a widow. When she embarks on an affair with her much younger bohemian gardener (Rock Hudson) the scandal threatens to uproot her life. Sirk's masterpiece may be, under the surface, a glossy tearjerker but is in fact a scathing attack on everything the American Dream holds dear as he bit by bit exposes it's hypocrisy. Gorgeously shot film - in expressionistic colour with Russell Metty's camera framing characters symbolizing their despair - is one of Hollywood's most memorable romantic films helped in great part by Frank Skinner's swooning score. Both Wyman and Hudson are at the top of their game milking their mesmerizing screen chemistry for all it's worth. A must-see.
The power of hysteria is explored through a discriminatory injustice. As in Imitation of Life, Douglas Sirk uses melodrama to place an acute jab on conformist values.
This beautifully stylized film puts its focus on lonely upper-crust widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) who becomes romantically involved with younger gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson). Cary may have the fleeting support of her close friend Sara Warren (Agnes Moorehead), but she is pressured by her grown children and malicious small-town gossip to abandon the relationship.
People gossip. People gawk. People critique. But what I took from this is an eternal idea about love being able to derail all the bullshit that comes from judgment.
Every image of stunning Technicolor (which…
A stunning piece of cinema.
Breathtaking and pertinent. How glad it is to witness in such glorious form both a cinema which really cares with anything besides itself and Todd Hayne's fount of inspiration at the same time.
On a movie screen as is off of it, life's great questions are outside of the edges of the screen, in the heavens and underground, what is on the screen in center focus is life, and the area where speculations and day-to-day meet is in the edges, the corners of existence.
All That Heaven Allows-like all great films-is a piece of cinema lying fantastically on the battle lines of human transcendence and human banality; constantly being relatable and recognizable as the real world but it exists as something totally beyond that yet as if a well into deep human fears and frustrations.
All That Heaven Allows is the story of a recently widowed woman Cary Scott who falls for an…
Before this, I'd already seen Sirk's Written in the Wind which I thought was good. I knew that Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven was heavily influenced by this, but I wasn't so crazy about it, so I approached this one with caution. Thankfully, I felt so at ease watching this movie. I have no complaints about the pacing, and there weren't any hiccups in the narrative flow. Just simple. As it is a 'melodrama', emotions run high, but this movie actually has something to say not just about the two lovers, but also of a morally perverse society that doesn't hesitate to break down even the most well-meaning individuals. The visuals are stunning too; the use of colour, shadows, and composition is to die for (like that shot of Wyman "in" the television set). It's a beautiful movie.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…