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All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  9 December 1955 (Denmark)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 8,225 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 82 critic

An upper-class widow falls in love with a much younger, down-to-earth nurseryman, much to the disapproval of her children and criticism of her country club peers.

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(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Sara Warren
...
Harvey
Virginia Grey ...
Alida Anderson
Gloria Talbott ...
William Reynolds ...
Ned Scott
Charles Drake ...
Mick Anderson
...
Dr. Dan Hennessy
Jacqueline deWit ...
Mona Plash (as Jacqueline de Wit)
Leigh Snowden ...
Jo-Ann Grisby
...
Alex Gerry ...
George Warren
Nestor Paiva ...
Manuel
Forrest Lewis ...
Mr. Weeks
Edit

Storyline

Cary Scott is a widow with two grown children. She's been leading a quiet life since her husband died, socializing with a small circle of friends. Her children no longer live with her full-time but come home every weekend. She's not unhappy but also doesn't realize how bored she is. Her friend Sara Warren encourages he to get a television set to keep her company but she doesn't want that either. She develops a friendship with Ron Kirby who owns his own nursery and comes every spring and fall to trim her trees. Ron is much younger than she and their friendship soon turns to love. Her circle of friends are surprised that she is seeing such a younger man and she might be prepared to overlook that - Ron certainly doesn't care about the differences in their ages - but when her son and daughter vehemently object, she decides to sacrifice her own feelings for their happiness. Over time however, she realizes that her children will be spending less and less time with her as they pursue their ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How much does Heaven Allow a Woman in Love?

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 December 1955 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Tout ce que le ciel permet  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor and Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film seems to borrow its title from the last line of the poem 'love and life' by Jhn Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester: " All my past Life is mine no more, The flying Hours are gone: Like Transitory Dreams giv'n o'er, Whose Images are kept in store By Memory alone. The Time that is to come is not; How can it then be mine The present Moment's all my Lot; And that, as fast as it is got, Phillis, is only thine. Then talk not of Inconstancy, False Hearts, and broken Vows; If I, by Miracle, can be This live-long Minute true to thee, 'Tis all that Heav'n allows. " See more »

Goofs

Carrie's son, Ned, mixes martinis for his mother and her date, Harvey. Carrie tells Harvey, "NEED mixed them especially for you" (not "Ned"). See more »

Quotes

Ron Kirby: Mick discovered for himself that he had to make his own decisions, that he had to be a man.
Cary Scott: And you want *me* to be a man?
Ron Kirby: [Giving her a knowing smile] Only in that one way.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cape Fear (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Consolation No.3 in D flat major
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Liszt
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ahead Of Its Time
7 June 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) is a middle-aged, wealthy woman whose husband recently died. Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson) is Cary's younger, independent-minded landscape gardener. Ron reads Thoreau, respects nature, and values simplicity and honesty. Cary and Ron are attracted to each other. For Ron, marriage to Cary is an easy decision. But for Cary, the decision to marry Ron is harder. She must confront the disapproval of her grown children, and the disapproval of friends whose materialistic, country club values are inconsistent with the values of Thoreau.

In a town where people know each other's business, tongues wag. Feelings get hurt. Conflict erupts. The film's subdued lighting and vivid colors, combined with soft piano and velvety violin background music, create a tone that is sad and sentimental. Viewers are right to say that this Douglas Sirk directed film is a melodramatic soap opera.

Thinly veiled behind the simple plot, however, lies a profound message: "to thine own self be true". It is a message totally out of sync with 1950's America. Yet, the message would surface a decade later as the 1960's youth mantra: "do your own thing".

As an archetype, Ron seems too pure. And Cary's children and friends, shallow, selfish, vain, gossipy, and judgmental, are easy to dislike. This sharp dichotomy is somewhat unrealistic. But it gets the point across. And that point is a blistering indictment of 1950's American materialism and mindless conformity.

The film was thus ahead of its time. Despite its high technical quality, it was snubbed by the Oscars. In retrospect, "All That Heaven Allows" is superior to all five of the Oscar best picture nominees from that year. And its message is just as relevant now as it was fifty years ago.


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