My dog, Alfie, woke me up at 4 AM the other night, barking hysterically. After I calmed him down I found myself wide awake and so decided to find any boring, old movie that would put me back to sleep. I combed Netflix looking for anything that sounded stale enough, and I came across Douglas Sirk’s 1955 classic starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. The next thing I knew, it was 7:00 AM, I was obsessed with Rock Hudson and I had just finished watching one of most enjoyable melodramatic movies I’d ever seen.
The movie reminded me of Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven in that it critiques the closed-minded, conformity-obsessed 1950s. I loved Far From Heaven and I loved All That Heaven Allows. Check them out!
I just read this great synopsis taken from Criterion and I obviously could not have said it better:
“Jane Wyman is a repressed wealthy widow and Rock Hudson is the hunky Thoreau-following gardener who loves her in Douglas Sirk’s heartbreakingly beautiful indictment of 1950s small-town America. Sirk utilizes expressionist colors, reflective surfaces, and frames-within-frames to convey the loneliness and isolation of a matriarch trapped by the snobbery of her children and the gossip of her social-climbing country club chums.”