Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Commentaries on this Media!

Freud and TV contain female desire

by Critical Commons Manager

A pretentious undergraduate's interpretation of Freud is used to explain the conflicts of domestic desire for the white middle class in Sirk's All That Heaven Allows. Sirk's use of costuming and production design serve as a counterpoint to the repressed pseudo-intellectualism and conservatism of spoiled children. Formally, this scene also serves as an opening bookend for the image of Jane Wyman framed and trapped in the reflection of a TV screen delivered as a substitute for romantic fulfillment.

By the time the TV set is delivered as a Christmas present, Wyman has foregone her one chance at happiness with a younger man in order to preserve her relationship with her grown children. The revelation that both her daughter and son will soon be starting new chapters of their lives makes Wyman realize that she will soon be abandoned and alone. The arrival of the television set signifies her impending imprisonment in the domestic sphere, even as it promises to deliver "life's parade" right into her living room.

A TV set brings "life's parade" to the living room

A TV set is used to restrict female desire to the domestic sphere

from All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Creator: Douglas Sirk
Posted by Critical Commons Manager