All That Heaven Allows

“Thoreau battles small-town America for Jane Wyman's affections. An early scene reminiscent of All I Desire - a high crane shot of a small town displayed before the camera like a plate of food. Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) is widowed and alone. She falls in love with a younger man, her gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson). She is torn between her love for Ron and her endless social and familial attachments. On one hand, nature, back-slapping gusto, fun, good values; and on the other, country club, back-biting, nastiness, and alienation. The visual metaphors are perfect. Her friend (Agnes Moorehead) urges her to reject Nature and to buy a television set. Cary demurs. Why? Her friend is confused - ‘because television is the last refuge of lonely women?' The battle is on between a Wedgewood vase and the Sears furniture. Then, she falters - making the mistake of listening to her heartless, selfish children. On Christmas eve (in the most desolate scene in American film - or elsehwere), the man arrives with the Philco. There it is in the living room - with her face dimly reflected on the dead screen. It is so good. She flees - that other world... snow, a deer grazing at the window, a suffusion of light. But the vase is gone - she broke it.”

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