Both a heartbreaking melodrama and a sharp indictment of hypocrisy in 1950s America, this epitome of layered Hollywood filmmaking follows the blossoming love between upper-middle-class suburban widow Cary (Jane Wyman) and her handsome, considerably younger gardener, Ron (Rock Hudson). Their romance, greeted with scorn by her selfish children and outright disgust by her snooty friends, reveals the class-based prejudices of small-town life. Sirk and renowned cinematographer Russell Metty bring a richly ambiguous emotional tenor to each shot with calibrated colors and meticulous compositions that suggest the confinement of Cary’s life and the impossibility of escaping it. In its aesthetic and narrative richness, All That Heaven Allows has proven an endlessly durable model for artists of any medium who wish to address the manifold taboos of bourgeois society.
Preceded only by:
The Vanity Tables of Douglas Sirk
Mark Rappaport, USA, 2014, 11m
Mark Rappaport probes the burdensome nature of beauty and bodily control through one of classical Hollywood’s most essential props: the vanity table. Employing clips from landmark films like All That Heaven Allows, the filmmaker delves into how Douglas Sirk used this pejoratively named piece of furniture.