All That Heaven Allows

All That Heaven Allows

5.0 3
Director: Douglas Sirk

Cast: Douglas Sirk, Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead

     
 

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Though action movies and special effects extravaganzas are obvious choices to showcase one's DVD player/system to the digitally unwashed, films such as Douglas Sirk's psychological romantic melodrama All That Heaven Allows are also superb examples of the digital medium's strengths. The film's rich Technicolor tapestry borders on the surreal, giving one a

Overview

Though action movies and special effects extravaganzas are obvious choices to showcase one's DVD player/system to the digitally unwashed, films such as Douglas Sirk's psychological romantic melodrama All That Heaven Allows are also superb examples of the digital medium's strengths. The film's rich Technicolor tapestry borders on the surreal, giving one a perfect idea of how startling visuals don't always have to come wrapped in CGI wrappers. The Criterion Collection's disc is absolutely stunning. Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.77:1, the film's color palette is rich, skillful, and looks better than ever. Sirk's formal, yet information-heavy shots look crystal clear in this transfer. Blacks have depth and the saturated colors never seem to bleed or fuzz. Frankly, the film's glorious cinematography could still put to shame many modern productions. The disc has been given an English mono soundtrack and there are very few, if any, crackles or pops to speak of. For extras, the disc contains lengthy video excerpts with the director, taken from a BBC documentary from 1979 called Behind the Mirror: A Profile of Douglas Sirk. The footage is informative and excellent, as the director recounts his flight from Nazi Germany, his work in Hollywood, and his subsequent return to Europe. The late Rainer Werner Fassbinder's notorious essay on Sirk's films is also included, as well as a collection of production stills and more. The appropriately hysterical theatrical trailer is also available, as well as liner notes by film theorist Laura Mulvey.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Douglas Sirk's stylized romantic melodrama is one of the most fascinating of his films and the most thoroughgoing in its critique of American middle-class values. Its simple story concerns a romance between a 40-ish widow, Jane Wyman, and her young gardener, Rock Hudson, which scandalizes her social circle in a small New England town. "Sirk has made the tenderest films I know, they are the films of someone who loves people and doesn't despise them as we do," wrote R.W. Fassbinder about the director who was his primary influence. Sirk, a German immigrant who preferred to work in the frequently disdained genre of the "woman's picture", was able to imbue shopworn soap operas of trapped and oppressed women with a unique blend of humanism, social comment, and subterranean visual irony. Here, he points up the petty intolerance of the friends and grown children of a lonely widow, who are disturbed by the notion that she should still need love and sexual fulfillment. In a scene featuring the television as fetish object, Sirk deftly underlines the emptiness that he found in the rituals of American society. The director's characteristic use of mirrors, doorways, and various architectural details to frame compositions implies both limits of the world of his characters and the artifice of his narrative.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/19/2001
UPC:
0715515011426
Original Release:
1955
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
1:29:00

Special Features

Behind The Mirror: A Profile Of Douglas Sirk (1979), a BBC documentary featuring rare interview footage with Sirk; Imitation Of Life: On The Films Of Douglas Sirk, a seminal essay by Sirk admirer and filmmaker Rainer Fassbinder, illustrated with rare ephemera; exclusive liner notes by film theorist Laura Mulvey; a stills archive with production photos and vintage lobby cards; original theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jane Wyman Cary Scott
Rock Hudson Ron Kirby
Agnes Moorehead Sara Warren
Conrad Nagel Harvey
Virginia Grey Alida Anderson
Gloria Talbott Kay Scott
William Reynolds Ned Scott
Jacqueline De Wit Mona Plash
Charles Drake Mick Anderson
Leigh Snowden Jo-Ann
Merry Anders Mary Ann
Donald Curtis Howard Hoffer
Alex Gerry George Warren
Hayden Rorke Dr. Hennessy
Nestor Paiva Manuel
Forrest Lewis Mr. Weeks
Tol Avery Tom Allenby
Lillian Culver Bit part
Jim Hayward John
David Janssen Freddie Norton
Paul Keast Mark Plash
Joseph Mell Mr. Gow
Vernon Rich Bill
Gia Scala Manuel's Daughter

Technical Credits
Douglas Sirk Director
Alexander Golitzen Art Director
Fred Baratta Editor
Leslie I. Carey Sound/Sound Designer
Peggy Fenwick Screenwriter
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Joseph E. Gershenson Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Frank Gross Editor
Julia Heron Set Decoration/Design
Ross Hunter Producer
Joseph E. Kenny Asst. Director
Joe Lapis Sound/Sound Designer
Russell Metty Cinematographer
Eric Orbom Art Director
Frank Skinner Score Composer
Bill Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer
Bud Westmore Makeup

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Golden raintree [6:11]
2. Egyptian tomb [4:16]
3. Stoningham Country Club [3:02]
4. Companionship vs. romance [2:59]
5. Glass house/The old mill [7:24]
6. Two invitations [2:21]
7. Walden clambake [9:08]
8. Wedgwood teapot [7:14]
9. Butcher shop [4:43]
10. Father's trophy [6:35]
11. Sara's lovely house [3:46]
12. A good-lookingset of muscles [2:50]
13. Rose window [2:18]
14. Local sensation [3:48]
15. Telephone and telegram [2:31]
16. Silver-tipped spruce [2:57]
17. Television [3:21]
18. Pheasant hunt [3:30]
19. Accidental encounters [2:25]
20. Bedside vigil [4:49]
21. Deer [2:28]
0. A Profile Of Douglas Sirk
1. The German theater [2:45]
2. Schlussakkord [:52]
3. Fleeing Germany [2:32]
4. Early American films [4:09]
5. Magnificent Obsession [2:26]
6. All That Heaven Allows [:31]
7. Captain Lightfoot [:39]
8. Written on the Wind [3:11]
9. The Tarnished Angels [3:26]
10. A Time to Love and a Time to Die [2:27]
11. Imitation of Life [4:35]
12. Life After Hollywood [3:45]

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All That Heaven Allows 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Blu fray is by a large gorgeous, the commentary makes for a fascinating second look at this uniquely subversive film. Wyman's skill as an actor is astonishing and nuanced. Beyond the melodrama and kitsch there is art: every frame so masterfully composed, the story defies convention in format, style, and approach. Yes it was a weeper but so much more! My only quibble with this transfer are the occasional color shifts in scenes.  I'm not sure why this wash't corrected.  Otherwise, "All That Heaven Allows" is a fine addition to my Criterion collection and one of the great American films of the fifties.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago