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All That Heaven Allows (1955)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 7,279 users  
Reviews: 85 user | 80 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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Title: All That Heaven Allows (1955)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Sara Warren
Conrad Nagel ...
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
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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 »
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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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house Jane Wyman's character lives in (on Universal's "Colonial Street" backlot) was built by on rented Universal property by Paramount Pictures for 1955's "Desperate Hours"; Universal left it standing after filming, altering its appearance for "All That Heaven Allows." Four years later, it was altered again, for use as the house of the Cleaver family in TV's "Leave it to Beaver," beginning with the show's move from CBS to ABC for the 1959 season. The house continued as the Cleaver house until the end of the series in 1962, but was known at Universal as the "Paramount House," not the "Cleaver House." See more »

Goofs

The town is Stonington but on a store window it says Stoningham. See more »

Quotes

Ron Kirby: I can't shoot straight anymore.
See more »

Connections

Featured in In Bad Taste (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No.1 inC minor, Op.68: 4th movement (the Alpenhorn melody)
(uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Scathing social commentary masking as soap opera.
28 June 2004 | by (Columbia, South Carolina, USA) – See all my reviews

Douglas Sirk is a truly underrated director, and this film shows why. Although this film becomes more highly regarded as the years go by, especially by non-Americans, it is usually regarded as just a well made soaper. Big mistake. This is a very angry film, a scathing commentary on the conformity and mindlessness that characterized much of the 1950s. Remember, this film was made in 1955, before there were any beatniks or hippies, before the civil rights movement, before there was any pot smoking, before anyone beyond the fringes questioned any of the basic values underlying capitalist America. America was at the peak of its power and prestige, and this was perhaps the first mainstream film that questioned the values that presumably were responsible for that ascendancy. Because this film is essentially about class and the primacy that human relationships must have over material gain, social acceptance, and social conformity.

Think of the forbidden (at the time) themes that this film deals with. Older woman, younger man. The shallowness, insipidity, and snobbery of the upper middle class arrivistes who have "made it," all of which masks their basic insecurity, unhappiness, and self-loathing. A male lead who doesn't care about acceptance by anyone, who doesn't care about money or success, who just wants to be happy and "do his own thing," well over a decade before that phrase was coined. The Wyman character foolishly (at first) decides that acceptance by her peers and children is more important than finding happiness with a man she truly loves, and what does she end up with for companionship? A television set! This was the decade in which "The Lonely Crowd" was published, and this film exemplifies that concept, as well as striking examples of other- vs. inner-directed, far better than any other film of its time.

Sirk was truly a visionary, well ahead of his time. This was why this film inspired Fassbinder's "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" and Todd Haynes' "Far from Heaven." It is all the more powerful for having been made then and in not being a retrospective look, as is "Far from Heaven," from a more "enlightened" future time. For its social import, I rate this 9/10.


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