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All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 5 April 1956 (Italy)
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.

Director:

Douglas Sirk

Writers:

Peg Fenwick (screenplay), Edna L. Lee (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Wyman ... Cary Scott
Rock Hudson ... Ron Kirby
Agnes Moorehead ... Sara Warren
Conrad Nagel ... Harvey
Virginia Grey ... Alida Anderson
Gloria Talbott ... Kay Scott
William Reynolds ... Ned Scott
Charles Drake ... Mick Anderson
Hayden Rorke ... Dr. Dan Hennessy
Jacqueline deWit ... Mona Plash (as Jacqueline de Wit)
Leigh Snowden ... Jo-Ann Grisby
Donald Curtis ... Howard Hoffer
Alex Gerry ... George Warren
Nestor Paiva ... Manuel
Forrest Lewis 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 her 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 Cary 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 April 1956 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Tout ce que le ciel permet See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor and Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Ned mixes a large batch of martinis, the liquid in the shaker is light brown, even though he makes a point of saying he used only two drops of vermouth, which would result in a clear-colored drink in a shaker that big. See more »

Quotes

Mona Plash: You know what everyone said.
Cary Scott: No, but I'm sure you do.
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

 
Douglas Sirk's Visual Extravaganza
11 July 2005 | by Michael BraggSee all my reviews

At times, the aesthetic appeal of a film is so overwhelming, it surpasses the draw of the big-name stars and plot. And "All That Heaven Allows" is one of those rare examples. Anyone familiar with Douglas Sirk-directed projects knows his grandiose style. And this 1955 masterpiece sums up the best of Sirk drama, with the surface sheen, thundering music, noted stars and biting social commentary. This film, in fact, is so beautiful, that it requires repeated viewings just to be able to take it all in.

Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson re-team from Sirk's inferior "Magnificent Obsession" that was such a hit the year before. In this story, Wyman plays a wealthy widow bound to the claustrophobic confines of her uppity New England town. Her friends and two grown children do their best to convince her to marry Harvey, a stuffy and older neighborhood bachelor. But Wyman wants more. She ends up falling for her younger gardener, played by Hudson. After bonding over the virtues of the silver-tipped spruce, they embark on a love affair which is rejected by the community and Wyman's own children. They feel she is far too upstanding to be with a gardener. The reluctance of those around her to accept this relationship cause Wyman to have to choose between love or respect from her town.

Sirk takes what is a sappy, predictable tale and turns it into a visual feast. This is true eye candy for film buffs. Sirk sets the stage for this story against a heightened background of the reds, golds and yellows of a New England autumn. Every detail from Agnes Moorehead's red hair to sunsets to Wyman's lipstick and even the cars is given the Technicolor treatment to the max. Sirk's knack for visual irony is also heavily present throughout. The film opens with a shot of the town's clocktower with pigeons roosting. The pigeons are divided into two groups - a gaggle of black pigeons representing the townspeople on one end, and on the other are two white pigeons nuzzling, representing Wyman and Hudson and the division they face in this community. This is just for starters. Other stunning examples are when Sirk uses shades of blues and greys and reds to convey character's feelings of sadness or anger. And of course there is the famous television set scene. And through all of this emotion and cotton candy extravaganza is Frank Skinner's lush score that soars in all the right places. "All That Heaven Allows" is a first-rate classic that is a must for fans of Sirk or anyone who are devotees of lush melodramas from the studio heyday.


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