All This, and Heaven Too

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For the album by Andrew Gold, see All This and Heaven Too (album).
All This, and Heaven Too
All this heaven movieposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Anatole Litvak
Produced by David Lewis
Anatole Litvak
Screenplay by Casey Robinson
Based on All This, and Heaven Too (1938 novel) 
by Rachel Field
Starring Bette Davis
Charles Boyer
Barbara O'Neil
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Ernie Haller
Edited by Warren Low
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s)
  • July 4, 1940 (1940-07-04)
Running time 141 minutes
Country United States
Language English

All This, and Heaven Too is a 1940 American drama film made by Warner Bros.-First National Pictures, produced and directed by Anatole Litvak with Hal B. Wallis as executive producer. The screenplay was adapted by Casey Robinson from the novel by Rachel Field. The music was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by Ernie Haller.

The film stars Bette Davis and Charles Boyer with Barbara O'Neil, Jeffrey Lynn, Virginia Weidler, Helen Westley, Walter Hampden, Henry Daniell, Harry Davenport, George Coulouris, Montagu Love, Janet Beecher and June Lockhart.

Rachel Field's novel is based on the true story of Field's great-aunt, Henriette Deluzy Desportes, a French governess who fell in love with the Duc de Praslin, her employer. When Praslin's wife, the Duchesse, was murdered, Henriette was implicated. It was a real-life scandal that brought down France's King Louis-Philippe in 1847.[1][2]

Plot[edit]

Screenshot of Charles Boyer and Bette Davis from the film's original trailer

Mademoiselle Henriette Deluzy-Desportes (Bette Davis), a French woman, starts teaching at an American girls school. She is confronted by the tales and gossip about her that circulate among her pupils and, thus provoked, she decides to tell them her life story.

Mademoiselle Deluzy-Desportes is governess to the four children of the Duc de Praslin (Charles Boyer) and the Duchesse de Praslin (Barbara O'Neil) in Paris during the last years of the Orleans monarchy. As a result of the Duchesse's constantly erratic and temperamental behavior, all that remains is an unhappy marriage, but the Duc remains with his wife for sake of their children.

Through her warmth and kindness the governess wins the love and affection of the children and their father, but also the jealousy and hatred of their mother. She is forced to leave and the Duchess refuses to give her a letter of recommendation to future employers. The Duc confronts his wife and she invents alternate letters taking opposite attitudes, which in fact she has not written and does not intend to write. Her account enrages him and leads to her murder.

The Duc de Praslin is in a privileged position; as a peer his case can only be heard by other nobles. He refuses to confess his guilt or openly to admit his love for Henriette, which is a way to protect her as she is under suspicion of complicity in the murder. Ultimately the Duc takes poison to prevent himself confessing the truth to the authorities; however, he lives long enough to reveal it to another of his servants, Pierre (Harry Davenport), a kindly old man who had early warned the governess to escape the de Praslin household. She is released by the authorities.

Henriette's French class is moved by her account. She had been recommended her for the teaching position "in the land of the free" by an American minister, Henry Field (Jeffrey Lynn), to whom she had expressed a loss of faith while in prison. He proposes marriage and Henriette accepts.

Cast[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

A successful but expensive costume drama,[3] it was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture; O'Neil was nominated for Best Supporting Actress; and Ernest Haller for Best Cinematography.

Trivia[edit]

Wind at My Back, a Canadian TV show drama set in the thirties, named the first episode of its fourth season after this movie.

The film's title was parodied with the 1941 animated short "All This and Rabbit Stew"—one of the great Bugs Bunny/Merrie Melodies cartoons spoofing Hollywood.

References[edit]

External links[edit]