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All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 5 April 1956 (Italy)
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2:37 | Clip
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:

Peggy Thompson (screenplay) (as Peg Fenwick), 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:

All That Heaven Allows See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$170
See more on IMDbPro »

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 is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #95. See more »

Goofs

Cary reads two quotations from the same page in Walden: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation" and "If a man does not keep pace with his companions..." Those two quotations are from opposite ends of the book, the first and last chapters, respectively. 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 Beata Virgo Viscera (2018) 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

 
Ahead Of Its Time
7 June 2005 | by LechuguillaSee 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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