That's not to say that Sirk's 1954 remake of a 1935 film, and adaptation of the 1929 novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, is not a melodramatic gem. The story focuses on reckless playboy Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson, in his first leading role), whose boat-crashing antics inadvertently kill Helen Phillips' (Jane Wyman) husband. When Merrick falls for the widow, he learns a lesson in selflessness and giving to others -- but not before Helen is blinded in an accident that was once again a result of Merrick's actions. Whereas the melodrama in Sirk's major works are supported by substantive themes that still resonate today -- the racism that forces Sarah Jane to abandon her mother in Imitation of Life, for example -- Magnificent Obsession drowns in its sentimentality.
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Well, it will involve tears and a lot of courtroom hair-tearing, and given that this is a feel-good movie from 1948, it's all going to come up aces.
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The problem relates to the flashback, a device Hitchcock frequently used to good effect. But here, Hitch deceives us from the get-go with a big (and bold) lie. To explain further would ruin the film more than it already is.
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Disney's Pollyanna is everything its name would imply, the story of an orphan (Hayley Mills) sent to live with her stern aunt (Jane Wyman) in a small town. Along the way, she cheers up everyone's lives, and Pollyanna's naive lessons on life change everyone, presumably for the better.
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Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) is an attractive, wealthy New England widow who falls for her much younger gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson). Though she is sure of her love for him, Ms. Scott turns back on plans to remarry after her friends and children Kay and Ned (Gloria Talbott and William Reynolds) express reservations. Kirby may be handy with his hands, but Scott is devastated by the small town gossip and her children's bitter rebuff of her newfound love.
Continue reading: All That Heaven Allows Review
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