I will admit that while I own it I have never read All This and Heaven Too by Rachel Field, but being a Bette Davis fan have seen the film adaptation numerous times.
I must start by saying that this 1940s adaptation is an over the top
melodrama, but I have a love affair with that genre so it has only
fed my love for this film.
All This and Heaven Too is an old fashioned Amanda Knox case. It is based the murder case of Duchess Du Praslinand and Henriette Deluzy-Desportes’ (played by Bette Davis) part in it.
I compare it to Miss Knox because at the time it was a very high profiled case and said involvement was by association, and after time served are released with “whoops we made a mistake but it is okay that we dragged your name through the mud and made it infamous”.
All This and Heaven Too is a love story from afar between Henriette Deluzy-Desportes and the Duke Du Praslinand. The Duke Du Praslinand and Henriette Deluzy-Desportes are like children playing the “he loves me, he loves me not” game and with each petal that falls from the flower their love deepens yet falls down a dark hole that cannot be retrieved or put together again, it is doomed from the start.
Bette Davis, the practical one must always control the duke and keep his crazy face from contorting and losing his temper. While Bette Davis is always outstanding and plays the understanding, “I didn’t do it” part well I think Charles Boyer makes the movie. With his loving tenderness of a Father and crazy Dracula like tendencies he is almost as crazed as his wife, adding intrigue to it all.
Barbara O’Neil plays the part of manic-depressant Duchess Du Praslinand fantastically, and if she wasn’t such a bitch may feel sorry for her. Unfortunately, O’Neil plays her part so well that you can do nothing but hate her and while suspense is held during her murder are only saddened when the Duke takes the blame and their poor children are off to live with their grandparents.
Speaking of children, the youngest, Reynald is adorable. I wish I could have found a better picture of his huge brown, endearing puppy-dog eyes that you can’t help but fall in love with. It is obvious that he was hired for his cuteness and not his non-existent french accent.
Overall, it is a melodramatic fan’s dream and is a heartwarming classic. I can only hope the book can match it.