Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

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Released 24-Aug-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1957
Running Time 101:47
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (51:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Huston

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Deborah Kerr
Robert Mitchum
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Georges Auric

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
French Titling
German Titling
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It has been interesting to review this film, one of the other big films of 1957, straight after reviewing Sayonara. It seems a little odd to me, nearly 50 years later, to realise that although Sayonara won 4 Academy Awards in 1958 and was nominated for 10, and this film was only nominated for 2 and won neither, that this should be the better known film by miles. I would guess that nearly everyone has seen this film at least once - I know that I have seen it more than once in the past but I certainly did not mind seeing it again. In fact, I enjoyed it. Something about this film has certainly caught people's imaginations over the years.

    The film is set in 1944 during World War II on a small island in the South Pacific . Two very different people become stranded on this island and must learn how to live with each other, whilst also scratching for food and avoiding the Japanese. The two people are Corporal Allison of the US Marines (Robert Mitchum) and Sister Angela, a Roman Catholic nun (Deborah Kerr). Allison arrives by rubber boat,  in which he has escaped from a sea battle. We find out he is an orphan who has known no family except the marines. Sister Angela, on the other hand, has left the island where she was doing missionary work because of the impending arrival of the Japanese. She has been stranded alone on this island because the other missionaries have all died. Since Allison and Sister Angela are alone on the island they decide to work together to survive and hopefully escape. Their plans, however, are interrupted by the arrival of a troop of Japanese soldiers to set up a weather station. Allison begins to develop admiration and affection for this naive but resourceful nun, but will his affections be returned? Will they manage to evade the Japanese until the Americans arrive? Will they find enough food to eat, without being caught? You'll have to watch the movie........

    This film is a classic mismatched romance/relationship drama with the rough and ready marine falling for beautiful but unobtainable Sister Angela. The film has some excellent action sequences involving Mitchum & Kerr evading the Japanese and trying to achieve their objectives. Considering the age of the film some of the stunt and camera work such as the turtle fishing expedition are very well done indeed. The acting from the two leads, who are really the only characters, is also excellent with Deborah Kerr being nominated for an Academy Award for her role. The screenplay was also nominated, deservedly so, as it contains some well written dialogue combined with just the right amount of action. It was written by director John Huston and John Lee Mahin based on the original novel by Charles Shaw.

    This is an entertaining, enjoyable and well-made film featuring excellent performances by Robert Mitchum & Deborah Kerr.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good for a film of this age.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp, with no evidence of low level noise, although there was some grain, and some scenes especially early in the film were a little soft. The shadow detail was not spectacular but was good enough for a film of this age.

    The colour was generally good for a film of this vintage, however it was a little dull at times. Daytime shots of the sea and island palms were pretty good from a colour perspective. I did notice a little bleeding at one point from Deborah Kerr's face onto her white dress, but this was minor.

    Artefacts are mostly restricted to film artefacts although there is some fairly obvious edge enhancement. I did not find it too distracting but then it is not an artefact which particularly annoys me. As far as film artefacts go, there were black specks throughout the film which occasionally became more prominent such as at 61:10 and 63:37. I also noticed one white splodge at 60:00.

    There are subtitles in 8 languages including English for the hearing impaired plus titles for the foreign soundtracks. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 51:59 and is very well hidden. I had to use my PC to find it.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains five audio options; an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in German, French, Spanish & Italian.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Occasionally, the dialogue seemed slightly muffled.

    The score of this film by Georges Auric is understated but adds tension to the action scenes and is quite suitable otherwise.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu includes a still from the film and scene and language selection functions.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

   Based upon the above, the Region 1 wins, but only just.


    This disc contains a classic mismatched partnership film set in World War II starring Robert Mitchum & Deborah Kerr.

    The video quality is very good for a film of this age.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc has no extras which is a shame for a film of this calibre.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
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A Classic ! -