Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

4.5 4
Director: John Huston

Cast: Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum

     
 

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John Huston's offbeat adventure comedy/drama Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison comes to DVD in a stunning letterboxed transfer (2.35-to-1 aspect ratio) that is so rich in color that it could be used as a demonstration disc for those unpersuaded about the digital disc format. The movie never made it to laserdisc in any configuration, so this is the first real chanceSee more details below

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Overview

John Huston's offbeat adventure comedy/drama Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison comes to DVD in a stunning letterboxed transfer (2.35-to-1 aspect ratio) that is so rich in color that it could be used as a demonstration disc for those unpersuaded about the digital disc format. The movie never made it to laserdisc in any configuration, so this is the first real chance that anyone born since the mid-1940's will have had to see it properly, or to appreciate Huston's work, much less that of cinematographer Oswald Morris or composer Georges Auric. For those unfamiliar with the movie, try to think of a work in the same vein as Huston's The African Queen, set a generation closer to the time it was made. Robert Mitchum melts into the role of the Marine trying to avoid capture by the Japanese, and quietly dominates the entire movie. He and Deborah Kerr (playing the nun who ends up accompanying him) are less mannered than Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn were in the earlier movie, but just as interesting to watch. The movie has been so well preserved and presented that it's kind of a must-own for fans of the director or of either star, or of war movies. Both of the stars were nominated for Oscars and Mitchum could only have lost because he was up against Alec Guinness in Bridge On The River Kwai that same year. One sorely wishes that Deborah Kerr were in good enough health in 2003, or that Mitchum or Huston were still around to have talked about the movie and the shoot. As it is, the studio has included a few extra features here -- the original trailer plus those for five other movies in the Fox War Classics release cycle for May of 2003 (Sink The Bismarck, The Enemy Below, 13 Rue Madeleine, The Desert Fox, The Blue Max); and a quartet of Fox-Movietone News newsreels dealing with the fighting on Tarawa and Saipan, which is the background against which the movie takes place. All are accessible in a three-layer menu that opens automatically with the "Play" option in the default position on start-up. The 106 minute film has been given 15 chapters, which is adequate given its somewhat episodic nature.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The mismatched relationship is a standard Hollywood contrivance, and it's used to good effect in John Huston's Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. In this particular pairing, the steely hero is a marine (Robert Mitchum) and the obstinate woman is a nun (Deborah Kerr). In a situation reminiscent of Huston's The African Queen, Mitchum and Kerr are stuck together on an island in the South Pacific during World War II, trying to survive and do their part against the enemy. With their mature performances, Kerr and Mitchum dignify what could have been a manufactured romantic adventure. Kerr was nominated for her fourth Academy Award for her portrayal of the woman divided between her love for God and her attraction for the marine. She and Mitchum would appear together in three other movies, The Sundowners, The Grass Is Greener, and the made-for-cable Reunion at Fairborough.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/20/2003
UPC:
0024543072096
Original Release:
1957
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:46:00
Sales rank:
1,048

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Deborah Kerr Sister Angela
Robert Mitchum Mr. Allison

Technical Credits
John Huston Director,Screenwriter
Buddy Adler Producer
Leigh Aman Production Manager
Georges Auric Score Composer
Basil Fenton-Smith Sound/Sound Designer
Eugene Frenke Producer
George Frost Makeup
Stephen B. Grimes Art Director
Elizabeth Haffenden Costumes/Costume Designer
Arthur Ibbetson Camera Operator
Ray Kellogg Special Effects
Russell Lloyd Editor
John Lee Mahin Screenwriter
Oswald Morris Cinematographer
Lambert Williamson Musical Direction/Supervision

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Title/Washed Up
2. Sister Act
3. A Turtle Hunt
4. Hatching a Plan
5. Cave Dwellers
6. Invasive Behavior
7. Hunting and Gathering
8. The Rat's Nest
9. A Gift for Sister Angela
10. Coming Clean
11. All Kinds of Temptation
12. Fenced In
13. Free from the Habit
14. The Theater of War
15. Divine Intervention

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