Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1955. Universal International Pictures. Story by Edna L. Lee, Harry Lee, Screenplay by Peg Fenwick. Cinematography by Russell Metty. Produced by Ross Hunter. Music by Frank Skinner. Production Design by Alexander Golitzen, Eric Orbom. Costume Design by Bill Thomas. Film Editing by Frank Gross, Fred Barratta. The Criterion Collection.
Widow Jane Wyman befriends her handsome young gardener (Rock Hudson) and finds an escape from her snooty society friends in his company. This upstairs-downstairs romance between two people with so much dividing them seems at first to be a glossy, shallow Hollywood fifties melodrama. Dig beneath the surface, and you’ll actually find an intelligent, searing indictment of American politics and class divisions, the headiest and most thought-provoking of the director’s work. Sirk has recently been rediscovered as an auteur filmmaker, something he was never considered in his day, and this beautifully shot, brilliant film should be the first on the list of anyone interested in learning about him. Wyman is excellent in the lead, a sensitive but determined woman who wants to please everyone around her until she eventually realizes that she must follow her heart.