All That Heaven Allows (US, 1955)

One of the classic 1950s melodramas that looks magnificent in the Criterion DVD (only available in Region 1). Spectacular mise en scene and the colour use is extraordinarily Expressionist. Excoriating on the bourgeoisie; a must see. (DVD, 5)

However, I don’t now feel this film to be as great as I once thought. I admire it for its craft and am interested in it as a comment on 1950s America but now find Ron’s falling in love unconvincing (a rather important dramatic point!). Its message is history while contemporary films (of any time) are going to be speaking of now in some way; now obviously concerns me more then then.

Of ‘classic’ cinema I’ve been watching recently I think film noir movies stand up well (to the test of time) because their cynicism is still a modern sensibility. The hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie in ATHA is clearly still relevant, but the Country Club milieu is different in the 21st century.


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