Hollywood’s master of melodrama, Douglas Sirk, is at his most devastating crafting this deceptively simple story of class-crossing romance into a florid explosion of style. Jane Wyman plays the wealthy widow whose relationship with her earthy, honest gardener (Rock Hudson) causes a scandal among the New England social set.
Sirk’s unique approach to the soap-opera-style stories he was handed by studio bosses remains unmatched. Not only did he treat them with respect, but he imbued them with a distinct sense of colour, vibrancy and amplified emotional intensity, dashed off with a caustic strain of slyly inserted social commentary.
Sirk’s mixture of earnest melodramatics with subtle irony would be a significant inspiration for German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and more recently Todd Haynes adapted the plot of All that Heaven Allows for his 2005 tribute to Sirk, Far From Heaven.