Recommended by Daniel Austin (Director)

  • ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS
  • USA: 1955
  • Cert: 15 / 1 hour 29 minutes
  • Director: Dougls Sirk

I have the Douglas Sirk DVD Box Set because having seen ‘All That Heaven Allows’ whilst a student back in 1985 – 35 years ago! – it was necessary to see all the films…

Films from the 1950s have always intrigued me: their style, colouring, and often romanticised view of the world – or is it just the medium itself that does this?

This story is about an older woman falling in love with a younger man, after her husband dies, and all the social prejudices that thus ensue in her (highly fictionalised!) community.

There is a soap opera element to this film though in a cinematic form. Jayne Wyman’s and Rock Hudson’s performances are exquisite in that they represent everything that the Hollywood star system embodied and, together with the heightened naturalism of their performances, the movie somehow manages to allow audiences to believe in their reality: there is ‘a truth’ to their relationship and to the story.

I have always thought that this movie epitomises the definition of ‘American [heightened!] Naturalism’ in cinema…

Looking back at the film again now, and I re-visit it often, I can’t believe that there are so many Christmas card images!