"All That Heaven Allows"

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Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

"All That Heaven Allows"

Post by Belle » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:44 pm

On the weekend I watched this 1955 shocker from Douglas Sirk. It is a soap about a middle aged widow (Jane Wyman) who lives in provincial prosperity and falls in love with her much younger gardener (Rock Hudson). I'd seen it years ago but I was prepared to be amused once more, and the film didn't let me down.

Small town stereotypes populate this dull film, which concentrates on the quotidian; the gossipy matrons, the judgmental friendship group, the petulant and entitled children who tell mum she's 'got to sell the house' because 'we've left and there's no reason to hold onto it now'. Wyman appears perpetually flummoxed. The greying, but very respectable, local doctor admires her and wants her hand in marriage, er, 'eventually - after a decent period of time has elapsed'. He cautions paternalistically, "but Carrie, you know at our age it will only be companionship". She looked forlorn and all of 45 - but I laughed. (Wyman was actually 38 when this film was made!)

The casting was so improbable that this mined a rich vein of humour all by itself! But the real deal-breaker was both the dialogue and the music, working in tandem to create stellar comedy. Frank Skinner's score was typical of the melodramatic drivel of the period, complete with strings and piano, and these examples were typical of its cloying impact - all of it resulting in hilarity!

Carrie's daughter: "Oh mother, what will people say when you marry HIM? I'll feel ashamed of you! How could you do this to ME?" (Lowest C on the piano is sounded)

Carrie's friend: "But, darling, isn't he the gardener?" (Lowest C sounds on the piano).

Carrie's nemesis - the local gossip: "Well, it looks like you've finally found something to keep you busy"! (Very low note sounded on the piano)

Carrie: "He doesn't want my money; even though he's poor he is a fine man". (Syrup from the strings; I kept wondering where was Andre Rieu!)

Ron (lying prostrate on a bed after an 'accident'): "Oh Carrie, you've come home". During this scene a deer, seen standing outside in a snowy idyll right out of Robert Frost, makes its way towards their window - surely one of the most tame and benign of all animals - and a symbolic portent that this love affair isn't going to be torrid and steamy. My amusement was leavened by the mental image of hoards of females weeping silently into their handkerchiefs while watching the film in the 1950s and 60s!!

During that last scene where the couple are reunited despite the censure of the local community, I felt that Wyman and Hudson must have had a terrible time of it trying to keep a straight face!!

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: "All That Heaven Allows"

Post by Belle » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:41 pm

Here's another piece with a very different take to mine on "All That Heaven Allows", in case anybody is interested:

https://www.criterion.com/current/posts ... ven-allows

lennygoran
Posts: 12874
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: "All That Heaven Allows"

Post by lennygoran » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:51 am

Belle wrote:
Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:41 pm
Here's another piece with a very different take to mine on "All That Heaven Allows", in case anybody is interested


I remember Jane Wyman from the TV series we watched growing up-Father Knows Best. I see that a gardener is involved in this movie-I applaud this! Regards, Len :lol:

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