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All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 5 April 1956 (Italy)
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3:34 | Clip

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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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1 win. See more awards »

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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

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

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

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

Connections

Spoofed in Polyester (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Joy to the World
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Isaac Watts
Music by Lowell Mason
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Watch Wyman!
4 June 2011 | by HoldjerhorsesSee all my reviews

There is nothing to add to all the other comments about Sirk's wonderful direction, color palette, camera placement, etc. Sumptuous visual story telling!

What compels repeated viewings, though, is Jane Wyman's amazing accomplishment here. Especially compared to Sirk's subsequent sudsy masterpiece featuring Lana Turner, "Imitation of Life."

Wyman was always good and always INTERESTING. She held the camera. No doubt about that. Was she a great actress? Did she ever get a script that let her PROVE she was? It's arguable.

But here I think she truly WAS. Line for line, this is fairly pedestrian material. ("I let others make my decisions for me.") Each scene, like a string of pearls, is well-constructed. The plot too contains emotional conflicts and arcs that sustain the whole and reward us in the end.

But the lines themselves? In lesser hands the entire enterprise would have laughably bombed.

The supporting cast is top-notch. They ALL know their way around a line. Especially Agnes Moorehead and Jacqueline de Wit.

Even the early Rock Hudson, another star not known for impressive acting chops, who later found his REAL niche in light comedies with Doris Day, in which he was terrific, shines here. What he's asked to do he does naturally, easily, sincerely and affectingly. His sexual heat, jaw-dropping good looks, that voice and, yes, manliness, were perhaps never before or afterward captured so effectively on screen.

But "All That Heaven Allows" is Jane Wyman's picture all the way, and she's heavenly in all of it.

Though everything she does looks unstudied and completely naturalistic, hers is a consummate technical display of film acting on the highest level.

Listen to her vocal inflections alone. Completely naturalistic. Except dramatically varied and supported by heightened emotion that is anything but "natural" and is all "art." (She could also sing, and sing well.)

Watch her movements. Same thing. All in character, not an ounce of phoniness. But so precise, economical and scaled for the camera that, again, you're watching the art of a well-trained professional performing at a high level.

Then, watch her amazing close-ups. You can read her every thought and emotion and reaction -- widely varying throughout the emotional plot arcs -- without her saying a word. Without an ounce of overplaying.

Her seeming simplicity here, as an artist, an actress, is so focused yet subtle that she pulls you in and holds you completely every moment she's on screen.

That, without being a natural or classic "beauty" like Lana Turner or Elizabeth Taylor, and without the aggressive showiness of actresses like Bette Davis or Joan Crawford or Katharine Hepburn.

The script doesn't offer Wyman the histrionic fireworks of more flamboyant roles given some other actresses.

But the layered richness and honesty of Wyman's performance here is the central achievement that keeps you returning to "All That Heaven Allows" again and again.

Yes, it's a great performance.


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