All That Heaven Allows at The Strand Cinema Belfast (Silver Screening)


Week 2 of 12 saw the Strand Cinema showcase All That Heaven Allows. This week the numbers had increased and there was an even better buzz around the place, and once again just reinforced how great a venue The Strand is for this film series. Tea and coffee sorted it was over to the film expert for some context about this movie.

Even more informative and interesting that last week, we learnt much about the director of this movie – Douglas Sirk. Further information was then given to us about his later films and the themes that run through them. Specific elements that were brought to our attention to look out for in All That Heaven Allows were the use of colour and framing. This short introduction to the movie really helps to set the scene and lay down the necessary context for the film, it easily enhances the viewing experience. Anyway, what did I think of the movie? Well upon realising that All That Heaven Allows was a romance film I was a little unsure of how much I would enjoy it, however I found the whole movie strangely relaxing and I actually thoroughly enjoyed it.

All That Heaven Allows is almost a Desperate Housewives of the 1950s, Sirk was clearly trying to portray several messages about this society in exaggerated ways. I really enjoyed these underlying themes of class and society. Much of these themes have been further addressed in more recent cinema but I can now clearly see that influence could have most definitely been drawn from a film such as this. The presentation of this theme was great as Sirk was able to do this in both a serious manner but also at appropriate points bring a lot of humour into his scenes. This impressed me as I did think I may have struggled to find such an old film quite so funny.

Other elements that contributed to the humour would have to be several of the characters whether it was the ridiculous members of the country club over-reacting to the slightest action or Gloria Talbott’s performance as Kay Scott constantly analyzing the other characters as a result of her studies into psychology. Despite this, humour was definitely not a main feature of this movie and there is a greater tone of sadness included. I enjoyed the journey that Cary went on and I thought it was a really accurate portrayal of what peer pressure and the pressure to fit in and maintain standards can do to someone. Despite the ending where Cary decides to go against this pressure I think it would have been better and made for a stronger message or statement if the ending had remained more tragic. However the ending in no way ruined the film more me and I surprised myself at just how much I enjoyed this movie, definitely has helped me to broaden my horizons slightly.

Next week is 1959 film Pillow Talk!


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