5 items from 2014
If There's Always Tomorrow (1956) tends to get overshadowed in the Douglas Sirk canon—it's bracketed on either side by All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Written on the Wind (1956)—that may be because it's missing the two elements that define his most famous melodramas: color and Rock Hudson. Sirk's Technicolor films comprise his most widely known, widely praised, and widely available work, and not without reason. A command of the spectrum is arguably the director's key stylistic trademark and definitely one of his most important, helping him elevate even the flimsiest soap opera material to cinematic expressionism, driving emotions to impossible highs and playing his soulful characters against the seemingly insurmountable artificiality of their world.
So credit There's Always Tomorrow for choosing a format equally suited to its (relatively) toned down narrative. It's another suburban melodrama, but the gloriously preposterous plot twists of something like Magnificent Obsession (1954) or Imitation of Life (1959) are nowhere to be found. »
- Duncan Gray
Directed by Douglas Sirk
Written by Peg Fenwick
If ever there was a movie to reap the visual benefits of a Criterion Collection Blu-ray digital restoration, it is Douglas Sirk’s 1955 film, All That Heaven Allows. This lushly photographed work is Sirk’s most scathing and insightful commentary on subversive Hollywood cinema and the sociocultural norms it sought to challenge. With venerable cinematographer Russell Metty behind the camera, the film is radiant with rich, pulsating color, giving visual vibrancy to lives of complacency and routine. It was Sirk’s follow-up to his successful Magnificent Obsession from the year before, which has similar themes and tones and was another gorgeous melodrama. Universal kept what worked, bringing back Rock Hudson, Jane Wyman, and Metty. In many ways though, it’s All That Heaven Allows that stands as the defining work of Sirk’s career, the greatest of »
- Jeremy Carr
As Laura Mulvey’s essay, “An Articulate Screen” contends, 1955’s All That Heaven Allows was “just another critically unnoticed Hollywood genre product,” the attempt for a studio to repeat the pairing of stars Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman after the box office success of their work on the earlier Sirk title, Magnificent Obsession. But, the film has come to be one of Sirk’s signature pieces in an oeuvre astoundingly reconceived passionately by later generations of critics and international filmmakers, and rightly so. While his films can be classified as soapy melodramas, or that even more insidiously demeaning label, ‘women’s pictures,’ Sirk was hardly churning out tearjerker fodder—rather, his were insightful, complex portraits and elegant critiques of 1950’s social mores.
An upper class widow, Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) lives alone in her large home, her children Ned (William Reynolds) and Kay (Gloria Talbott) away at school and visiting on select holidays and weekends. »
- Nicholas Bell
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: June 10, 2014
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95
The 1955 drama follows the blossoming love between a well-off suburban widow (Jane Wyman, Magnificent Obsession) and her handsome and earthy younger gardener (Rock Hudson, Seconds). After their romance prompts the scorn of her selfish children and snooty country club friends, she must decide whether to pursue her own happiness or carry on a lonely, hemmed-in existence for the sake of the approval of others.
With the help of ace cinematographer Russell Metty (Spartacus), Sirk imbued nearly every shot with a vivid and distinct emotional tenor. A pinnacle of expressionistic Hollywood melodrama, this profoundly felt film about class and conformity in small-town America.
Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD combo edition »
For Beatles fans out there, Criterion is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of "A Hard Day's Night" by releasing a new 4K digital restoration of the film, with a newly remixed 5.1 surround soundtrack. Among the accompanying special features are a deleted scene, audio commentary, trailers, and a documentary program. The postmodern masterpiece, "L'Eclisse," by famed Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, will also be released, in addition to Douglas Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows," Peter Davis's "Hearts and Minds," Georges Franju’s "Judex," and Peter Weir's "Picnic at Hanging Rock."Please find below the details for each film (provided by Criterion): All That Heaven Allows (Dual-format Blu-ray/DVD Edition) This heartbreakingly beautiful indictment of 1950s American mores by Douglas Sirk (Written on the Wind) follows the blossoming love between a well-off suburban widow (Magnificent Obsession’s Jane Wyman) and her handsome and earthy younger gardener (Seconds’ »
- Melina Gills
5 items from 2014
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