Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

All That Heaven Allows (1955)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

All That Heaven Allows (1955)

In Douglas Sirk's melodramatic, glossy Technicolored soap opera about a doomed May-December relationship in the Eisenhower Era of the mid-1950s, in suburban New England:

  • the opening, symbolic, high-angle camera shot under the opening title credits - a piercing, stiff spire of a New England church rising above the town
  • the gossip-mongering, scandalizing subject among the 'ideal' Americana town's snobby and judgmental upper crust: the troubling relationship between fortyish, middle-class, affluent widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) and her handsome, younger back-to-nature, non-conformist gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson)
  • the decisive scene with Ron when Cary suggested that they suspend their love affair due to repressive community pressure and ostracizing (about her socially unacceptable choice): "Ron, we're gonna have to wait to get married. Well... to give the children a chance to get used to the idea. They'll feel differently when they know you better....I'm just asking you to be patient. It's only a question of time....Right now everybody's talking about us - we're a local sensation. And like Sara said, if the people get used to seeing us together, then maybe they'll accept us...It's only for a little while, and it would make things so much easier" - but Ron was resistant to her suggestion about having their lives ruled by others: "I'm sorry Cary, but it wouldn't work. I can't live that way. You knew that from the beginning....God knows I love you, but I won't let Ned nor Kay nor anyone else run our lives. Cary, don't you see we could never be happy if we did?... Cary, you're the one that made it a question of choosing. So you're the one that'll have to choose" - she made a quick decision: "All right. It's all over"
  • the earlier discussion by Cary's self-centered daughter Kay (Gloria Talbott) of the "old Egyptian custom" of entombing widows: "Of walling up the widow alive in the funeral chamber of her dead husband along with all of his other possessions. The theory being that she was a possession too, so she was supposed to journey into death with him. And the community saw to it that she did. Course that doesn't happen anymore" - although Cary retorted: "Doesn't it? Well, perhaps not in Egypt" - and later, the paired metaphoric shot of Cary appearing isolated, 'entombed' and trapped inside her house as she looked out of her window at Chrismas festivities
Christmas Gift of TV with Red Ribbon
  • shortly later, the scene of Cary being presented with a Christmas gift from her grown college-aged children, Ned (William Reynolds) and Kay - an ironic consolation prize and substitute for having lost the love of her life, and to keep her company: a brand new table-model TV set (adorned with red ribbons) - it was chosen to keep her company - she saw her chilling, glassy reflection framed (enclosed and trapped) on the TV screen as the salesman pointed at it and told her: "All you have to do is turn that dial and you have all the company you want right there on the screen - drama, comedy, life's parade at your fingertips"

Opening Credits

Gardener Ron Kirby

Ron with Cary
(Jane Wyman)

Cary - Trapped Inside Her House


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