All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
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.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
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?
Am reminded of a George Carlin joke - "the best thing about living on the beach is that you only have assholes coming at you from three sides."
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…
I've been trying to come up with ways to condense what I want to say about this, but there's so much that it seems impossible to do, particularly between tasks at work, which is where I do most of my writing these days for better or worse (definitely the latter). But I'm still thinking about the way Sirk paints the frame with color and light, and the way something as simple as a television set can be a massive imposing presence in a room, sucking all the life out of it (and how Sirk angles it so that it reflects the flame in the fireplace, reasserting its presence). And just everything about the final shot. It's too much to put into words.
"It's all so pointless"
A deer in the snow
Never before have white people
Suffered so beautifully
Mona is a ginormous bitch
You really can't overstate how gorgeous this movie is; not only the Technicolor cinematography but the costuming, the sets and the art direction are all beautiful to behold. ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS isn't a superficial film, though, but a subversive one. Beneath that lovely exterior you'll find a critique of the classist attitudes and obsession with conformity and materialism that ran rampant in America in the 1950's (and of course which still exist today to a thankfully smaller degree).
Of course, this is a melodrama so everything is bold and exaggerated but it all works. The scene where Jane Wyman's character, Cary Scott, has to congratulate her children on their happiness after she sacrificed her own for their sake is…
Criterion Blu-Ray #21. Douglas Sirk really doesn't like children, does he? So glad I got to see a Sirk in hi-def as holyfuckme the colours! And holyfuckme Jane Wyman's performance! Between this and Written on the Wind, I don't think I'm going to be a Rock Hudson fan, and this one didn't leave me with as many emotional wallops as other Sirks, but even from a technical level this is an incredibly impressive achievement.
Oh, the colour, the colour! A film, art directed to within an inch of its life, but a life alive with emotion and melodrama. The film takes your breath away with its gorgeous palette and yet still throws in subtle shadows as darkness creeps into proceedings. Yes, there is a story going on, as Jane Wyman's widow falls in love with Rock Hudson's "gardener". Wyman is mesmeric as she struggles to realise and accept she can find love again and then struggles to find the acceptance of her children and friends for a man of perceived lower caste. The contrast of two parties, one with Hudson's friends which is loud and boisterous and full of life, with a cocktail party…
This is how you can discern artistry in the construction of a film: a baby deer wobbles up to Rock Hudson and you lose your shit laughing, laughing so hard you can feel the place where your ribs meet your spine, and it is shaking, shaking with the force of your laughter; then the next time a deer appears it isn't funny at all, but ugh, kinda magical, like the cherry required on top of a Shirley Temple. Just, the lighting and the color, y'all, it's as if the perfect, complete, seasonal dimensions of Meet Me In St. Louis suddenly have class consciousness and a sex drive. Jane Wyman would have a bunch of assholes for friends, and then realize…
Beautiful, sumptuous melodrama from Douglas Sirk. Never fails to hit me right in the gut. A true classic.
How Miss Scott Got Her Groove Back.
The way Sirk used composition and color to elevate Hollywood melodrama into something more complex is incredible.
Though I've seen other Douglas Sirk movies, they never lose their ability to sneak up on me - Sirk's gift for hitting the audience with an unexpected but, in retrospect, inevitable emotional wallop is unparalleled. With All That Heaven Allows, about the romance between a strong but sensitive gardner (Rock Hudson) and a recently widowed socialite (Jane Wyman), I knew the premise beforehand, and the movie doesn't have any shocking twists, but Sirk uses the form of the "women's picture" to draw out moments of surprising, sometimes painful moments of emotional insight. Watching Wyman's character's judgment at the hands of her passive-aggressive "friends" and her awful, awful children is almost too much to bear - particularly stinging are the moment…
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game
- Grand Illusion
- Seven Samurai
- The Lady Vanishes
- The 400 Blows
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 159/738