All That Heaven Allows
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.