Movie Monday: All That Heaven Allows 1955

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When you watch a 1950's movie, you might expect the social clich?s that often cast a dark shadow on our memories of the era. All That Heaven Allows not only leaves room for those stereotypes, but centers around them for the main structure of the plot. What happens when a widow, past the "prime" of her life is left alone with an empty nest and a longing for her (gasp!) gardener? Well, neighbors will scoff and children will buy her a television set to ease her lonliness. But it would seem that nobody in her life thinks it appropriate that she find love, in a younger man, the second time around.

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Cary, a rich widow with overly opinionated collegiate children, is left alone in a large house, with more yardword than she could manage. It's only natural that she maintain the gardener her husband had hired for their lawn care, but she is a little unsettled when romantic feelings begin to develop. When rumors begin to circulate about her relationship with the handsome young gardener, her children cry out against it and claim that she is ruining their lives. So who will she choose? Her children, or the new love that offers her a happy future without lonliness?

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It's pretty entertaining to watch the story unfold, and to be unnerved by the snobby community, entitled children, and social environment the widow endures. The story is well paced, with subtle character development and climactic plot points. You might cringe at the heavy-handedness of some of the symbolism, but it's a nice touch for the sappier audience.

If you're a romantic, with interest in 1950's suburban culture and fashion, I think you will be a big fan of this film. And the handsome young gardener, played by none other than Rock Hudson, isn't hard on the eyes either.

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10 Responses

  1. Mandi,
    Sounds like a wonderful film. I love your Movie Monday posts. keep it up.
    We housewives in the 2000s can benefit from your critiques and suggestions.
    Thanks
    anna

  2. Ooh, break me off a piece of Rock Hudson any time! I saw this film recently, actually, and was really annoyed by the children’s characters! But I guess in those days a scandal was A Scandal, and rules had to be followed. Have you seen Far From Heaven? As it’s a (deliciously beautiful) modern film, the Scandals are significantly more scandalous than this 1950s film would have allowed, but reading your plot synopsis for this, it immediately sprang to mind.

  3. Maria says:

    This is a gorgeous film. And the main character is wonderfully portrayed by Julianne Moore in the remake/re-imagining ‘Far From Heaven’ where a further dimension to the story is added by the young gardener also being black.
    Thanks for the post, love all things to do with film!
    Maria xx
    http://www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

  4. Angie says:

    Sounds great!
    Now I’m going to find it :)

  5. Mandi says:

    Maria, have you seen any version of “The Imitation of Life?” If you liked Far From Heaven, the movie sort of combines that movie with “All That Heaven Allows”, plus the writer’s own twist (the homosexual husband). If you haven’t seen “The Imitation of Life,” I would suggest watching the one with Lana Turner. :)

  6. Summer says:

    All That Heaven Allows sounds like a great movie. I love watching movies from the 1950’s:)

  7. that looks like a great film although I doubt i can rope my husband into watching it with me. Oh well I guess its a movie night of one.

  8. Sue says:

    I’m a huge Rock Hudson fan! Not familiar with this film, but I’m definitely checking it out soon!

  9. kelly says:

    One of my absolute most favorite films. Rock Hudson in anything at any time, baby! I love the colors and feel of the film, too.