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Douglas Sirk in All That Heaven Allows

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lozza128
Words 1036
Pages 5
The role visual style plays in communicating the ideas, themes and issues raised by the film

Before to the introduction of ‘auteur theory’ Douglas Sirk directed films that were illustrious for classical Hollywood narrative. However, he used his power as director to step outside of the Mainstream Hollywood narrative and stylistic conventions (Core 1994), using techniques such as mise-en-scene to communicate the ideas, themes and issues raised in his films. All That Heaven Allows directed by Sirk is a perfect example of his clever use of visual style to communicate themes of social status, repression and nature.

The film was popular at its release as ‘critics were well aware that Sirk's films attracted a humorous popular reception’ (Philip Core p132) but was critically dismissed as a women’s weeping movie (Nick James, 1994). Told from a women's point of view and post WWII exposure gives a sense of context and what life was like for women of the time. As Carrie quotes from ‘walden’s book’ it becomes evident that mise-en-scene enriches the film and gets an insight into post WW2 life. Carrie is trapped, however it is not just the dialogue of the film that is used to expose her entrapment. Carrie is represented as a prisoner in her own home. The use of the TV double comments on what Carrie is going through. Sirk presents the television as a symbol of repression and defeat, a tiresome life. Sirk uses the television set to explore the theme of Carrie as an onlooker on life and depicts her entrapment as she reviews her position in life.

Sirk uses lighting and framing to show that the romance between Ron and Carrie is not accepted by the close community or by Carries own children due to the age and class differences of the two. Sirk introduces the issues of prejudice and small-minded ideals of the Middle class American society. This is depicted in the scene where...

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