Friday, June 24, 2011

309. All That Heaven Allows (1956)

Running Time: 89 minutes
Directed By: Douglas Sirk
Written By: Peg Fenwick, Edna L. Lee, Harry Lee, from story by Edna L. Lee
Main Cast: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Conrad Nagel, Virginia Grey


Two months later and I find myself back, clickity clacking away at the keyboard, donning a pair of eyeglasses and ready to spew my opinion on yet another one of these 1001 Movies That I, Apparently, Must See Before I Die. My returning film is "All That Heaven Allows", which I viewed a little earlier via the streaming portion of Netflix and why waste time jibber jabbering...Let's get down to business, shall we.

Cary Scott (Wyman) is a mother of two and a widow. She lives a very ordinary life, the type of life you'd expect any good natured woman living in the 1950s to lead. She sees her two, college age children on the weekends, has friends over for luncheons during the week and goes to social gathering with her appropriately aged male suitor, Harvey (Nagel). She also, like many other suburban wives of the 1950s, has a gardener under her employ and one day when her best friend Sara (Moorehead) can't stay for lunch, she invites the gardener, Ron Kirby (Hudson), to join her instead. They talk a little bit and on another lonely day in the life of Cary Scott, Rob asks her to his home, so that she can see his tree nursery. Cary is enamored with Ron's entire existence, his home and his friends. With a bit of a rushed plot, we're pushed forward and soon Cary and Ron are head over heels in love with one another and Ron is asking for Cary's hand in marriage. Of course, there is one little speck of information I forgot to mention - Ron is a much younger man and remember, we're dealing with a 1950s society, where the idea of a younger man and an older, widowed woman, was severely frowned upon.

I'm a twenty-six year old guy, but hey, I've seen "Leave It to Beaver" reruns and I know how persnickety people could be back in the day. It almost seems laughable today to think that this sort of thing would be frowned upon, but I realize that this was probably not just a fictional plot for a lot of women living back then. If you look up the actual ages of Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman, you'll find that Wyman is actually only eight years older than Hudson, which makes the situation even more unbelievable. I think that the thing that I could attribute most to this film, is how it makes you think of the societal changes that our world has gone through. I mean, you set a story up like this in 1956 and it's controversial, risque and racy subject matter, but if this film was made today, set in today's society it would be boring and unexciting. To think that the idea of an older woman dating a younger man today, is so socially acceptable that there are television shows about such occurrences. I'm not sure if we've advanced socially or become less conscious about the way we should behave...

"All That Heaven Allows" screams "black and white" and is really a film that I would have rather seen without color. I don't know, it just seems to me that color screams modern and that this is a tale told in a very un-modern world and a tale that needs to be reminded that it exists in an older time period. Of course, then we're fed gorgeous images of snowfall and deer frolicking outside of a gorgeous picture window and I realize that maybe the color wasn't so bad after all. Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson were pretty good and I definitely want to check out more of Rock's line of work. This was a good film, but not something that I'll likely watch again and certainly not the type of film that I'd want to see on a regular basis. Eventhough we're dealing with very adult subjects, I still would say that the film is definitely of it's time and a little bit too "goody goody" for me. It was a good love story, but love stories really aren't my bag. The film DID make me think though, and that's never a bad thing.

RATING: 6.5/10 Average film, but I was looking for something with a bit more of a wallop for my big comeback movie. Oh well...maybe next time.


June 24, 2011 3:04am

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