Saturday, July 5, 2014

#506: All That Heaven Allows

Directed by: DOUGLAS SIRK
1955, TSPDT Rank #303

All That Heaven Allows is one of the more famous Douglas Sirk and Rock Hudson collaborations - and it is also one of the most extreme, uncompromising melodramas I have ever seen. Many retrospective assessments of Sirk's work have read large amounts of irony into his sweeping Technicolor melodramas, interpreting them as over-the-top criticisms of 1950s society and the type of films that the Hollywood system of that time produced. From what I've read about Sirk, it seems that this is a pretty credible interpretation - especially since it seems that he considered most of the films he directed to be trash. However, All That Heaven Allows is still an extremely effective melodrama with stunningly beautiful and sophisticated visuals. It is impeccably crafted, and what irony Sirk might have intended is concealed discreetly beneath the surface of an immensely powerful love story that is anything but discreet. I knew basically what to expect before the film even started, but by the time it was over, I was overpowered and wrapped up in it to a ridiculous degree. That's the definition of a knockout melodrama.

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