Hello! I hope that you’re all having a cozy November evening. If, once you’ve defrosted your limbs and made a nice cup of something warm, you want to snuggle down with a movie, we here at The Niche implore you to consider All That Heaven Allows (you can do it here, if you like.) Yes, it’s a straight love story. Yes, it’s a 1950s domestic drama. But it also contains stunning New England landscapes, beautifully lush colors, a killer performance by Jane Wyman, and Rock Hudson as Ron Kirby.
I love Rock Hudson in this film for the same reasons I love Brad from Bon Appetit. Ron Kirby is a landscaper whose passion is “trees.” Nothing more specific. Just trees. I cannot tell you how many times in this film the man says the word trees. He says it erotically, sadly, passionately. He just loves trees!
Ron is not quite a himbo; he’s smart, and his physique isn’t overtly sexualized (as much as Rock Hudson in a plaid shirt can ever be nonsexual.) He’s simple, something I mean in the absolute best way possible. At one point Cary, the protagonist, goes to a clam bake with Ron (again, this movie is so aggressively New England) and picks up a copy of Walden. She asked the hostess if Ron’s read it, and she replies that he’s lived it.
Ron is a man who lives by his own set of principles and is unconcerned with scholarly pursuits. He resides in a one-room cabin attached to his greenhouse, next to an abandoned mill. At one point, he literally feeds a deer out of the palm of his hand, like a lumberjack Disney Princess. Later on, he turns the abandoned mill into a 1950s cabin, complete with a roaring fireplace and enormous windows.
In short, Ron is the kind of man we are all trying to be; honest, hardworking, able to provide our partners with beautiful cabins. There’s certainly queer undertones at play here; Ron and Cary are shunned by family and community alike for their love, and Rock Hudson was famously gay in real life. But sometimes, it’s enough to just see a kind, good, simple man mend a long-broken teapot for the woman he loves.