A duchess' irrational behavior toward her children's governess triggers tragic events that will change her family's lives forever.A duchess' irrational behavior toward her children's governess triggers tragic events that will change her family's lives forever.A duchess' irrational behavior toward her children's governess triggers tragic events that will change her family's lives forever.
The film is based on a true story involving the death of the Duke's wife in this played in an Academy Award nominated performance for Best Supporting Actress by Barbara O'Neil. Bette plays a young woman engaged as a children's governess by a couple whose marriage is already coming apart when she goes to work there. Bette wins the children's affection and that of Boyer even though it is unspoken throughout most of the film, but the undying hatred of O'Neil.
They've got a strange arrangement, the money is all on Barbara's side and her imperious father Montagu Love controls the purse strings. And these are nobility and there are different rules for them. Note after O'Neil dies and Boyer and Davis are arrested how differently as nobility and commoner they are treated.
Interestingly enough another film made around the same time showed the exact same situation. Boyer can only be tried by a jury of HIS peers, meaning the nobility. In The Earl Of Chicago when Robert Montgomery kills Edward Arnold he reserves the right to be tried by the House of Lords in that film.
Whether Boyer was guilty and how complicit Davis actually was in the film and in real life is left up in the air. Remember this was a film made under the infamous Code and a film made now on the same story, might be a little more realistic.
But when you went to a Charles Boyer film and this is his film more than Bette's you wanted and expected romance. Boyer is indeed a tortured and romantic soul, which is what his public paid to see.
All This And Heaven Too is a fine romantic film from a director of same, Anatole Litvak. Besides O'Neil's nomination for Best Supporting Actress which she lost to Jane Darwell for The Grapes Of Wrath that year, it was up for Best Picture and for Best Black and White Cinematography. It's dated because of the Code restrictions, but still wonderful entertainment.
- Nov 25, 2008