A sweeping costume drama, All This and Heaven Too (1940) tells the story of governess Henriette Deluzy (Bette Davis) who takes a position in the home of the elegant Duc de Praslin (Boyer).
Henriette soon finds that this is not a happy home; the Duc's wife is a jealous neurotic whose frantic love for her husband is unrequited; the more maniacal her behavior becomes, the more the Duc turns to the quietly sympathetic governess for solace.
The situation escalates with disastrous results for all concerned. (The Duchess is played to the hilt by Barbara O'Neil, in a role as far away as possible from the one she essayed a year previously -- Scarlett O'Hara's paragon of a mother in "Gone With the Wind.")
Although at the time of its release "All This and Heaven Too" was not the quite the success that Warner Bros. hoped for (director Anatole Litvak later said it was "...overproduced. You couldn't see the actors for the candelabra"), it holds up well today. The doom-and-gloom atmosphere is in keeping with the tragic storyline, and the performances of the two stars are top-notch. Davis is unusually gentle and restrained, whereas Boyer's interpretation of the troubled Duc is many-faceted and close to faultless. It could be referred to as The Movie of The Eyes -- were there ever two pairs of eyes larger or more expressive than those of Charles Boyer and Bette Davis?
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