Moviedrome Mondays: All That Heaven Allows (1955) and The Reckless Moment (1949)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday blog entry is a double-bill consisting of two Classical Hollywood era melodramas centering around a female as it’s leading character.

All That Heaven Allows (1955)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to legendary cult director Douglas Sirk’s 1955 quintessential melodrama All That Heaven Allows. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was March 1, 1998 (read here). Everything Cousins says here perfectly demonstrates why Sirk is a master filmmaker of melodramas and more. One oft-cited example comes from his how he marries visual style (his beautiful, expressive and exuberant use of color and black-and-white) with content (over-the-top emotions and an implicitly scathing depiction of suburban conformity respectively defining the characters and drama). Anybody who has seen Todd Haynes superb 2002 period drama Far from Heaven, will know exactly what I am talking about. In fact, it has been reported that directors Pedro Almodovar, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and John Waters (to name just three) cite him as one of their many influences. Let us not also forget that director/writer Quentin Tarantino named a restaurant menu item after him (i.e. the Douglas Sirk Steak) in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Last, not least, All That Heaven Allows notably influenced Fassbinder’s masterful 1974 drama Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Douglas Sirk films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to All That Heaven Allows

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Here is a youtube video link to a brief interesting essay/review of the film

Also, here is a youtube video link to Independent American director Allison Anders Trailers from Hell commentary for it

The Reckless Moment (1949)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to legendary director Max Ophuls great 1949 American film-noir melodrama The Reckless Moment. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was March 2, 1998 (read here). Once again, Cousins perfectly sums up why Max Ophuls is such a master filmmaker. The elegant tracking shots that define his visual style, has reportedly influenced later cinematic artists like Stanley Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson (to name just two examples). This aforementioned trademark that shaped Ophuls later European masterpieces (i.e. La Ronde, Le Plaisir, The Earrings of Madame de… and Lola Montes) is not only also evident here in The Reckless Moment, but also in his other two American masterworks (i.e. Letter from an Unknown Woman and Caught). If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Max Ophuls films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Reckless Moment

I could not find a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Also, here is a youtube video link to an analysis/appreciation of Max Ophuls by director/writer Paul Thomas Anderson – in it, he is discussing The Earrings of Madame de… and you can also find this special feature on The Criterion Collection edition of that aforementioned film (see here).


6 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: All That Heaven Allows (1955) and The Reckless Moment (1949)

  1. i haven’t seen these two films so I can’t say anything about these.
    John, did you watch any more poliziotteschis? If so, any thoughts?
    I’d like to hear your thoughts on Blood Ties. Also, did you watch the Joe interview on the Arrow box set? Also, is the je t’aime moi non plus review finished yet?

  2. I am a sucker for Sirk’s melodramas. The rich colours, the obvious painted backdrops. I can’t resist them. The Reckless Moment is a very good Noir. I haven’t seen that since the 1960s.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Hey Steve πŸ™‚ Given that I am a huge fan of 1950’s cinema (I love all eras of cinema though), I think you will love not only this film, but also the work of Douglas Sirk, who was one of the many masters of the melodrama πŸ™‚ Trust me, I know how much you love the 1950’s given your love for both John Waters Cry-Baby and Dennis Potter’s Lipstick On Your Collar – as you know, I love the latter as much as you do πŸ™‚

    I have just watched The Tough Ones and I absolutely love it – I personally believe that it is Umberto Lenzi’s second greatest poliziotteschi after Almost Human πŸ™‚

    I shall watch 1986’s Blood Ties next πŸ™‚ According to IMDB’s trivia page for it, it was originally conceived as a four-hour miniseries for Italian television. Interesting isn’t it? πŸ™‚ I finally watched the Joe Dallesandro interview and I not only loved it as much as you did, I also wished (like you) that he talked more about his American work. Dallesandro is always worth listening to – he could make a phonebook fascinating πŸ™‚ As for Je t’aime moi non plus, I just started the review and I sincerely apologize that it is long overdue πŸ™‚ So much stuff happened last month, but I am making up for lost time and I am working on it now πŸ™‚

  4. I could not have summed up Sirk any better Pete πŸ™‚ I do not know If I am the first person to say this, but given his visual style and the content of his melodramas, one could say that they resemble a damaged Norman Rockwell painting. In other words, Visually, it is beautiful on the surface, but in the center, they serve as scathing indictments of suburban conformity. Talk about irony πŸ™‚

  5. I might give All That Heaven Allows a watch given your very glowing review of it and I do really love the 1950s and those works set in it. I also haven’t seen The Girl Can’t Help It but that also looks like it defines the 1950s with it’s visuals, style and music from the scenes I’ve seen from it. It looks like I might like that film too.

    I’m really pleased you like The Tough Ones. It is great. Umberto Lenzi’s direction is great as always. I really like his directing style. Tomas Milian is fantastic as always as The Hunchbank, one of his most vivid characters and he gives his customary great performance. Maurizio Merli was also great in the lead. He could play the frustrated cop very well and he was good at action. Cop characters were portrayed positively in poliziotteschis and the audience was typically on the cop’s side. As with Henry Silva in Almost Human. Audiences liked seeing cops knocking the crap out of or killing criminal scum because of Italy’s soaring crimewave in the ’70s. That’s what audiences would like to happen to the real life criminal scum. The Tough Ones action packed movie with great car chases and especially that crazy ambulance chase. Did you have any particular favourite scenes from the film?

    I got the release of The Tough Ones from 88 Films and the release of Tough Cop from Fractured Visions and they are both great releases I’m very pleased with.I also have 88 Films’ release of Brothers Til We Die which is a must see film after The Tough Ones. I also got Blue Underground’s release of Sergio Corbucci’s Companeros.

    I think you’ll like Blood Ties. It is great. The shortened movie length version in English is great despite it’s reduced length but the four hour miniseries version is much better. The four hour miniseries is on youtube in Italian with no English subs on the screen but the auto translate provides decent English subs. I recommend watching the shortened English language version first as Davis, Spano and the other familiar actors are speaking in their real voices and I think that’s important.

    I’m really pleased you liked Joe’s interview. He always gives a great interview and this was no exception. He’s had such an interesting life and career and he has so many great stories to tell.
    This is a great and thorough interview. It’s just too bad he didn’t talk about his Hollywood work but otherwise a great interview I’m very pleased with. I’m sure the je t’aime moi non plus interview will be great too.

  6. Oh yes Steve, please do give both All That Heaven Allows and The Girl Can’t Help It a watch πŸ™‚ I guarantee you will not be disappointed πŸ™‚

    What a coincidence! I too singled out that ambulance chase as my particular favorite scene in The Tough Ones πŸ™‚ And yes, the film is a masterpiece πŸ™‚

    Wow πŸ™‚ you have a great DVD collection there concerning poliziottesschis πŸ™‚ As for Companeroes, I own that one πŸ™‚

    I will try watching Blood Ties with that auto translator that you just talked about, but If all else fails, I will watch the shortened version, though I will take your advice to watch that one first πŸ™‚

    I totally agree with you there on Joe Dallesandro πŸ™‚ Speaking of which, the reason my review of Je t’aime moi non plus is taking a little longer is because I have a lot of insightful things (all positive) to say about it πŸ™‚ Also, given that it was Dallesandro’s personal favorite of his films, I want to make sure my review does it justice πŸ™‚

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