- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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TCM! THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL!!!
Although Allison's hopes are dashed by Sister Angela as she explains her vows and wedding ring, there is much symbolism employed by director John Huston. Explanations made my Sister Angela and Allison's references to Mackerel Snappers create tension and in a scene of utmost irony, Allison eats raw fish matter of factly and Sister Angela cannot choke it down, failing as a mackerel snapper. Could this foreshadow that she could let go of her final vows? There are many scenes of water, waves coming on shore, implying changing chapters or events unfolding. Allison breaks the pipe of the priest which was a cherished object of Sister Angela of her priest colleague. The breaking of the pipe could be symbolic of Allison's desire to break the strictures of the Church that are keeping Sister Angela's love from him. The objects have symbolism. The Crucifix is carried off by Sister Angela in the last scene. Remember though, she would not have that Crucifix if Allison had not recovered it for her. Also, being the oaf he is, Allison crafts a crude bamboo comb with his sheath knife, not knowing that nuns wear their hair very short. He presents this as a gift, as a love offering, by wrapping it in a palm leaf as gift wrap with a "bow" of a red hibiscus flower. The hibiscus flowers are mentioned in the dialogue as well as Allison offers to gather flowers for her, trying to demonstrate his love for her. In the last scene, Sister Angela grasps two objects, the crucifix and the comb symbolizing now that these two areas of her life are in a way equal to her. She also now serves Allison by handling his cigarette for him so he can exhale while he is on a stretcher. His wounded body lying on the stretcher could be symbolic of a Christ like figure immobilized on wood and Sister Angela serving that figure, by attending to him and walking in stride with him. I have watched this movie since I was a boy and still want to believe that Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum marry.
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
This film is so touching and endearing. It's so refreshing to see the respect Mitchum and Kerr have for one another. Maybe they can't completely understand each others' life choices, but they do know what it's like to show regard for your fellow human being. To actually have manners! Imagine that!
Heaven Knows Mr. Allison
Great movie, very enjoyable, wonderful acting. This is the first time I've seen it. Mitchum and Kerr and wonderful together.
Two people, one great movie
Most of the movie is just two people. These two actors carry the enire movie in a splendid manner. Two different characters come together for survival. One island, two people and a movie to watch.
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
Absolutely loved this movie. It was a first for me. I was born in 1957. I love the old movies and I am so happy to have seen this one. What a wonderful movie this was, with the endearing interaction and survival of these two on the island during WWII. Beautiful movie. I hope you don't wait to show it again. Please do make it more available--it's one of the greats in my eyes and heart. <3 it! Awesome performances by two wonderful actors! Thank you!
- stephen maher
My favorite romantic movies are "Roman Holiday","Heaven Knows Mr.Allison and "Harold and Maude". I just realized that all three end with no future for the couple involved... Go figure.The characters are extremely memorable.This is one of John Houston's best films....that should be enough to recommend it.
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
- Jay Higgins
A definite personal favorite, with both Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr giving amazing performances. The character development is so rich. It is believably done, such perceptive direction. A truly great classic that is always interesting. Brilliant.
Why hasn't this movie ever aired on TCM?
I've been watching TCM for about 10 years now, and have yet to see this movie aired; why? I've loved it since I was a kid when I came across it on late night TV (back in the 60s). I was so happy when I found it on DVD about 3 years ago. TCM should at least air it during their "31 days of Oscar" since it was nominated for two. They seem to show the same Oscar winning movies over and over. Kerr and Mitchum were impeccable; this was the movie that made me a Robert Mitchum fan. I hope to see it aired soon and often!
Correction to my comments
Sister Angela was carrying a large CROSS and the hand-carved comb "Mr. Allison" had made for her as they were walking together when the movie was ending. I had the nagging feeling that something wasn't right when I submitted my original comment. When I realized what it was, it was too late. I'm so embarrassed, but I had to set the record straight!
One of my all-time favorites!!
I've wondered why this film wasn't more accepted as a great movie. It's a beautiful character study of two individuals who are 180 degrees apart from each other, but are forced to fend for themselves by war. One is a battle-hardened marine whose whole world is the "Corps" and the other is a devoted Catholic nun who hadn't yet taken her final vows as a nun. Mr. Huston showed his directorial skills in bringing their interactions to the screen. When Sister Angela told "Mr. Allison" so shyly about her "DI," it was a classic scene of their growing attraction & trust in one another. My Dad served in the Pacific and told me of watching Navy ships battling it out beyond the horizon, one of the few times he talked about his experiences. Gregory Peck walking out of the courtroom and the black people above standing up to honor him as he passed below them was THE classic dramatic scene in film. Sister Angela in her white, pure uniform clutching her bible and comb in one hand, holding his cigarette in the other while walking next to him as "Mr. Allison" was being carried in a stretcher thru the group of marines, was one of the tenderest moments in film, because you knew what they been through.
One of my top five all time favorite movies.
- James Baugh
Again one of my all time favorites. The acting is impeccable. The chemistry between Mitchum and Kerr is wonderful. I can't say enough and so will say no more.
"You got your cross...I got my globe and anchor!"
"Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison" is one of those movies that you discover and marvel that it isn't more vocally revered and celebrated. For my money, it's one of the best movies Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr, or director John Huston had in their respective careers. The film is a two-character study of a Marine (Mitchum) and a nun (Kerr) stranded on a Pacific island during the Second World War. They survive on the island together despite the inconvenient occupation of Japanese forces.Often the tenderest performances from tough-guys come out in their comradeship with their fellow soldiers. But one of the absolute pleasures of "Heaven Knows..." is Robert Mitchum's interactions with Deborah Kerr. He is gallant and touchingly protective of her without losing his strapping Marine machismo.No one ever made piety more endearing than Kerr and she manages to inspire romantic (though ultimately platonic) chemistry with Mitchum. His career would've lacked a crucial something if not for his on-screen pairings with Kerr in "Heaven Knows...", "The Sundowners", and "The Grass is Greener". Perhaps it's the reversal of Katharine Hepburn's assessment of the Astaire and Rogers chemistry. Mitchum gave Kerr sex appeal and Kerr gave Mitchum class.John Huston directs with a deft hand. Nothing ever gets too corny, religiously fervent, or chest-thumping. The portrayal of the Japanese is even and not unnecessarily exoticized or stereotyped. Huston keeps the attention on the beauty of the island and the beauty of the relationship between Mitchum and Kerr. The war had few moments of grace for anyone who fought or lived through it, but somehow these two characters found it on this isolated island.