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Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) is a recently widowed member of a small town New England's well-to-do Country Club set. Her life is bound by the strict social conventions of her class, making her feel both stifled and achingly lonely. Her friends and teenage children try to set her up with Stoningham's most eligible bachelors, but when she meets handsome, younger gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson), they share an instant and unshakable attraction. But their romance soon becomes the subject of scuttlebutt and Cary must summon the courage to break free from the snobbishness of her conservative world.

Review by Louise Keller:
If you enjoyed Douglas Sirk's Magnificent Obsession, made in 1954, you are guaranteed to also enjoy this moving melodrama with the same cast of Rock Hudson, Jane Wyman and Agnes Moorhead. Set in the 50s in the snobbish New England community where class and money speak volumes, Hudson plays a gardener to Wyman's wealthy widow Carey. Social standing and the disapproval of the entire community and Carey's grown up children form a gulf in the blossoming relationship between the two central characters. Hudson's free-spirited and confident Ron can ignore everything except his love for Carey, but Carey is only too aware of their age and class difference and seems unable to allow her own happiness to be her guide.

Frank Skinner's sweeping score and Russell Metty's beautiful cinematography contribute greatly as we alternate between Carey's and Ron's worlds. Carey's is cluttered by the opinions of her so-called friends, while Ron's philosophy believes in being true to self. Hudson exudes charisma and sincerity as he converts his old mill into a home; Wyman is convincing as the woman tormented by the choices by which she is faced. Peg Fenwick's script perfectly describes the small-town attitudes as gossip is spread maliciously and Carey finds herself in an impossible situation. Agnes Moorehead is excellent as Carey's friend Sarah, but it's Gloria Talbott as her academic daughter Kay who steals many of the scenes.

The snowy winter setting is beautiful and the scene in which Ron and Carey talk about their future, as they stand by the window, is one of the most memorable. If you're impatient, you have no business growing trees, Ron tells Carey at the beginning of the film, when he is pruning her garden, and he has no difficulty in showing his patience. A classic and beautiful film for those who love romantic stories.

This Director's Suite two-disc edition is packed with special features including an audio commentary by Dr Mark Nicholls, Lecturer in Cinema Studies at the University of Melbourne, William Reynolds on working with Douglas Sirk and a profile on Rock Hudson.

Published October 23, 2008

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(US, 1955)

CAST: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Conrad Nagel, Virginia Grey, Gloria Talbott, William Reynolds, Charles Drake

PRODUCER: Ross Hunter

DIRECTOR: Douglas Sirk

SCRIPT: Peg Fenwick (story by Edna L. Lee, Harry Lee)


EDITOR: Frank Gross, Fred Baratta

MUSIC: Frank Skinner

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alexander Golitzen (art direction)

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's Suite; 2 discs; Audio commentary by Dr Mark Nicholls (lecturer in Cinema Studies University of Melbourne); William Reynolds on working with Douglas Sirk; A Powerful Political Potential; Hollywood Remembers Rock Hudson; trailer


DVD RELEASE: July 9, 2008

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