All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. 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.
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…
I think I might go on a little Douglas Sirk binge in the nearer future. I was so blown away by Written on the Wind, which was my first Sirk, that I want to see more. I like the people in his stories, not to mention the colors, and this one was very easy to relate to for me. Not much has changed since the 50s, it seems. Women's magazines might be full of articles about older women being with substantially younger men, making you believe it's not that big a deal anymore, but when it happens to you, you're faced with similar prejudice as back then, even when moving around in so-called liberal circles. So this happy ending…
"Hey, baby. Wanna come back to my place and look at some trees?"
That house the guy makes out of that old mill is amazing. It seems strange and ridiculous now how much people used to care about the private lives of others; there has been some progress for tolerance since 1955.
I've wanted to see this film for a long time, having read so much about Douglas Sirk, but I didn't expect to love it as much as I did.
There have been many long, analytical reviews written about the film, its themes, and its technical achievements, many on this site alone- go read them! They're good!- so I'll just mention a couple of aspects of the movie that I personally enjoyed a lot.
First is Jane Wyman's performance. She's in every scene of the film, and carries it all perfectly. Cary Scott as an upper-crust 1950s woman who is bedeviled by loneliness and society's expectations of her. Wyman wears Cary's unhappiness on her face without ever making her seem weak…
All that the 50's stood for- cliche endings, all-white cast, sexist remarks, and a lot of voices that sound the same. It's a fun time.
7 out of 10.
An impressive feature from director Douglas Sirk. Despite its age the film has dated very well. The two leads give great performances and the melodramatic story doesn't feel as contrived as other similar movies from the era. There is also Sirk's remarkable use of colour, which is worth a watch in itself and still influences directors to this day.
You laugh that someone could ignore pure love to retain status, but what's shown onscreen is as serious as can be underneath the soap opera theatrics. There's no better transition than watching the joyous grins disappear from Kay and Ned’s faces after their mother announces that her fiancé is not the man they think.
They're right about Douglas Sirk, he is a genius. "All That Heaven Allows" is a brutal, cutting satire of 1950s values and also a deeply affecting drama about the agonies of love. It may be the greatest melodrama ever made.
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