All That Heaven Allows (1956)

88-89 mins | Melodrama | January 1956

Director:

Douglas Sirk

Writer:

Peg Fenwick

Producer:

Ross Hunter

Cinematographer:

Russell Metty

Editor:

Frank Gross

Production Designers:

Alexander Golitzen, Eric Orbom
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HISTORY

According to Jan 1955 HR news items, Colleen Miller was cast in the film, and Ilka Chase was originally cast as "Mona Plash," but neither actress appears in the final film. Studio press materials indicate that Jane Wyman's daughter, Maureen Reagan, was considered for the role of "Kay Scott," but was deemed too young to play the part. All That Heaven Allows marked the first onscreen appearance of Conrad Nagel, who plays "Harvey," since his starring role in United Artists' 1948 film The Vicious Circle , directed by W. Lee Wilder (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ).
       Director Douglas Sirk stated in a modern interview that Universal saw All That Heaven Allows as a chance to repeat the success of Sirk's 1954 film Magnificent Obsession (see below). To that end, they re-assembled not only stars Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson and Agnes Moorehead, but most of the production crew as well. In the same interview, Sirk stated that one of his most important boyhood influences was Henry David Thoreau's Walden , and that "this is ultimately what the film was about." Thoreau's themes of the natural man and the necessity of self-reliance are evident in the character of "Ron Kirby." Referring to the film's title, Sirk affirmed that he considered it to be ironic: "As far as I'm concerned, heaven is stingy."
       Jan 1955 HR news items add Dani Crayne and Alberto Morin to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Italian actress Gia Scala made her feature-film debut in All That Heaven Allows . Scala was ... More Less

According to Jan 1955 HR news items, Colleen Miller was cast in the film, and Ilka Chase was originally cast as "Mona Plash," but neither actress appears in the final film. Studio press materials indicate that Jane Wyman's daughter, Maureen Reagan, was considered for the role of "Kay Scott," but was deemed too young to play the part. All That Heaven Allows marked the first onscreen appearance of Conrad Nagel, who plays "Harvey," since his starring role in United Artists' 1948 film The Vicious Circle , directed by W. Lee Wilder (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ).
       Director Douglas Sirk stated in a modern interview that Universal saw All That Heaven Allows as a chance to repeat the success of Sirk's 1954 film Magnificent Obsession (see below). To that end, they re-assembled not only stars Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson and Agnes Moorehead, but most of the production crew as well. In the same interview, Sirk stated that one of his most important boyhood influences was Henry David Thoreau's Walden , and that "this is ultimately what the film was about." Thoreau's themes of the natural man and the necessity of self-reliance are evident in the character of "Ron Kirby." Referring to the film's title, Sirk affirmed that he considered it to be ironic: "As far as I'm concerned, heaven is stingy."
       Jan 1955 HR news items add Dani Crayne and Alberto Morin to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Italian actress Gia Scala made her feature-film debut in All That Heaven Allows . Scala was initially brought to the U.S. by Universal in 1954 to test for the role of "Mary Magdalene" in The Galileans , a film that the studio never produced. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Oct 1955.
---
Daily Variety
18 Jan 1955.
---
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1955
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Oct 1955
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jan 1955
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 1955
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1955
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 1955
p. 3, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1955
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Oct 1955
p. 650.
New York Times
29 Feb 1956
p. 35.
Variety
26 Oct 1955
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on the story by
Based on the story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
Jane Wyman's ward supv
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Dial dir
Grip
Best boy
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Joy to the World," music by Joseph Handel, lyrics by Isaac Watts.
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1956
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 25 December 1955
Production Date:
6 January--early February 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
36 December 1955
Copyright Number:
LP5683
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
2:1
Duration(in mins):
88-89
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17459
SYNOPSIS

In the New England town of Stoningham, widow Cary Scott is disappointed when her friend, Sara Warren, cancels a lunch date, and so invites her landscaper Ron Kirby to share the meal. Immediately, Cary is drawn to Ron's strength and calm, but his youth and blue-collar social status make a romance unthinkable to her. That night, Cary's children, budding executive Ned and co-ed Kay, come home and grant their approval to Cary's date with the sole local bachelor, staid hypochondriac Harvey. Cary and Harvey go to the country club, where a new neighbor, Tom Allenby, is already being targeted by a young blonde woman. After neighborhood gossip Mona Plash criticizes Cary's red dress as inappropriate, the married Howard Hoffer makes a pass at Cary, who deflects it. Harvey takes her home and there proposes to her, but Cary, who yearns for some of the passion she felt with her husband, demurs. Weeks later, Ron returns to prune the trees, and Cary is surprised at the disappointment she feels after he announces he is quitting in order to run his tree farm. When he asks her over to see his trees, she reluctantly agrees, only to be charmed by his rustic greenhouse cabin and down-to-earth manner. As she explores the abandoned mill next door, a bird frightens her and she falls into Ron's arms. Cary then turns to leave, but Ron stops her, and they share a passionate kiss. Weeks later, autumn progresses, and Cary, horrified by Sara's advice to buy a television set to keep her company, accepts Ron's invitation to a dinner party. It is held at the home of his friends, Alida and Mick Anderson, former suburbanites ... +


In the New England town of Stoningham, widow Cary Scott is disappointed when her friend, Sara Warren, cancels a lunch date, and so invites her landscaper Ron Kirby to share the meal. Immediately, Cary is drawn to Ron's strength and calm, but his youth and blue-collar social status make a romance unthinkable to her. That night, Cary's children, budding executive Ned and co-ed Kay, come home and grant their approval to Cary's date with the sole local bachelor, staid hypochondriac Harvey. Cary and Harvey go to the country club, where a new neighbor, Tom Allenby, is already being targeted by a young blonde woman. After neighborhood gossip Mona Plash criticizes Cary's red dress as inappropriate, the married Howard Hoffer makes a pass at Cary, who deflects it. Harvey takes her home and there proposes to her, but Cary, who yearns for some of the passion she felt with her husband, demurs. Weeks later, Ron returns to prune the trees, and Cary is surprised at the disappointment she feels after he announces he is quitting in order to run his tree farm. When he asks her over to see his trees, she reluctantly agrees, only to be charmed by his rustic greenhouse cabin and down-to-earth manner. As she explores the abandoned mill next door, a bird frightens her and she falls into Ron's arms. Cary then turns to leave, but Ron stops her, and they share a passionate kiss. Weeks later, autumn progresses, and Cary, horrified by Sara's advice to buy a television set to keep her company, accepts Ron's invitation to a dinner party. It is held at the home of his friends, Alida and Mick Anderson, former suburbanites who, at Ron's urging, have turned to living on the land for fulfillment. Alida explains that they live by the words of Henry David Thoreau: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away." As the party begins and she dances with Ron, a joyful Cary realizes how much she admires Ron's lifestyle and strength of mind, and feels a twinge of jealousy when she sees Alida's pretty niece, Mary Ann, flirting with him. By winter, Ron and Cary are spending all their time together, and he surprises her by showing her how much of the mill he has remodeled. When he tells her that he has built the house for them to share, however, she insists that the union would be impossible, because her friends and children would not accept him. She begins to leave, but breaks down crying, and soon after they declare their mutual love. Within days, Mona spies them together and spreads a rumor that they began their relationship before Cary's husband died. The faithful Sara suggests that Cary bring Ron to a party that weekend so their friends can meet him, but at the party, the local couples disdain Ron as "the gardener" and snub him. After Howard declares Cary a tease, Ron slugs him, and the couple quickly leave. At home, Cary tells Ned and Kay that she is going to marry Ron, and although they were amenable to her relationship with Harvey, they are horrified to think she might marry "beneath" her and sell the family home. After Kay cries that her life has been ruined by the gossip and Ned threatens never to return home, Cary tells Ron they must wait to be married. He demands that she choose between her love for him and her need for social acceptance, and even though she is devastated, Cary leaves Ron. Weeks later, her friends and family have welcomed Cary back into their fold, but she remains despondent and suffers headaches. Soon, the kids are too busy to visit, and a lonely Cary is crushed when she sees Ron and Mary Ann together. At Christmas, Kay shows off her engagement ring and Ned announces that he is moving to Paris and wants to sell the family house. When Cary sees their gift, a TV set, she breaks down, realizing that her rejection of Ron was pointless, and her future holds only loneliness and boredom. The next day, she visits Dr. Dan Hennessy, who opines that her headaches are caused by depression, and that she should marry Ron. Although she goes to Ron's, she hesitates at the door and returns to her car. Ron, who has been hunting, spots her from atop a hill and, in his rush to stop her from leaving, falls off a cliff and suffers a concussion. That night, Alida informs Cary that Ron is unconscious, and they race to his cabin, where Cary admires the beautiful home Ron has built and anguishes over why it has taken her so long to discover her true values. When Ron finally wakes the next morning, he is delighted to see Cary, who assures him that she has finally come home. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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