1955, Movies

All That Heaven Allows (1955, Douglas Sirk)

Sometimes I feel like Sirk is the Norman Rockwell of old Hollywood: everything is so hyper-idealized. But I guess Winslow Homer is a better comparison, everything looks good, but things are lurking.

The colours are all so intense and lightning is so dramatic. I know some people love Sirk for his sets and costumes and stuff. I’ve never been into that.

I’m much more into the satire though, which is perhaps as as on display here as in any of Sirk’s films. But it’s kind of over the top, and honestly, things have changed so much since the ’50s that it’s really hard to relate to. Her friends are one thing, but her son is so unbelievably obnoxious I have trouble trying to imagine that would ever happen – this guy is supposed to be an adult? (But I’m probably not being fair.)

So I struggle with this. I have a hard time understanding these people when they say things like “You love him so much you want to ruin all our lives?” Honestly, can I buy this? I have a really, really hard time. A really hard time. Maybe if the dialogue were a little different, a little more nuanced – but this is the play’s fault I guess.

I appreciate the attack on gossips and people of that ilk. But it’s over the top, and, like all these melodramas that Sirk excels in, it’s just too much for me, too much emoting and too much exaggerated color palette.


PS This woman’s children are just horrible, horrible people.

  • Directed by Douglas Sirk
  • Produced by Ross Hunter
  • Screenplay by Peg Fenwick
  • Story by Edna Lee, Harry Lee
  • Starring
    • Jane Wyman as Cary Scott
    • Rock Hudson as Ron Kirby
    • Agnes Moorehead as Sara Warren
    • Conrad Nagel as Harvey
    • Virginia Grey as Alida Anderson
    • Gloria Talbott as Kay Scott
    • William Reynolds as Ned Scott
    • Charles Drake as Mick Anderson
    • Hayden Rorke as Dr. Dan Hennessy
    • Jacqueline De Wit as Mona Plash (as Jacqueline de Wit)
    • Leigh Snowden as Jo-Ann
    • Donald Curtis as Howard Hoffer
    • Alex Gerry as George Warren
    • Nestor Paiva as Manuel
    • Forrest Lewis as Mr. Weeks
    • Tol Avery as Tom Allenby
    • Merry Anders as Mary Ann
  • Music by Frank Skinner
  • Cinematography by Russell Metty
  • Edited by Frank Gross
  • Production company: Universal-International
  • Distributed by Universal Pictures
  • Release date: August 25, 1955
  • Running time: 89 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Box office: $3.1 million

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