A defining May-December melodrama.

Unstreamable is a column where Jas Keimig and Chase Burns recommend movies and TV shows you can’t watch on major streaming services in the United States. We publish every Wednesday. 

This week… 

JAS: On cold evenings like the ones we’ve been having, who wouldn’t want to curl up to a good old-fashioned romance by the master of romance?

CHASE: Meanwhile, this week I fell down a clickhole of Tsui Hark’s cinematography (Once Upon a Time in China) and learned he wrote and produced an animated version of the cult Hong Kong movie A Chinese Ghost Story, for kids. It’s… vibey!

BUT! Most importantly: Come to Northwest Film Forum this weekend. We’re hosting screenings of Cowboy Bebop: The Movie as part of our Unstreamable series. The dub and the sub! We don’t want to fight about it

Got a recommendation? Give us the scoop at


USA, 1955, 89 min, Dir. Douglas Sirk

Even though the film is about an old widow falling in love with a young hunk, Jane Wyman was only 9 years older than Rock Hudson; she was 38 and he was 29.

There’s something so horny about Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows. Maybe it’s the colors. The New England landscapes and interiors are washed with a smoky orange and icy blue, shades that should not go together, but make you feel hot and cold at the same time. Or maybe it’s the fact that it was filmed in the ‘50s when upper middle class sexual and social rules were restrictive–it can be so sexy to burst out of what confines you. Or MAYBE it’s the fact that Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson are super hotties with great chemistry. All That Heaven Allows is the second Wyman-Hudson-Sirk collaboration and it’s pure melodrama distilled. Wyman plays Cary, an old widow of means who falls for her young arborist-with-a-heart of gold, Ron (Hudson). Because of their “huge” age gap, the relationship causes drama within Cary’s social set and family; those joyless hags think Ron is just trying to play Cary for her money. It sets up an interesting tension between the life Cary wants for herself and the life others expect from her. Every scene is beautifully composed with creamy, warm colors and ornate set dressings. Romance feels good in a place like this. Branded as a “women’s drama” when it first came out, All That Heaven Allows has gained much more esteem over the last half-century as being one the greatest films of its time. In fact, this movie helped bring us another century-defining film–Polyester. John Waters has been a long time admirer of Sirk, and his Divine-led suburbia satire pays homage to the legendary German director. Applause all around! JAS KEIMIG

Find it in the Directors section under Sirk, Douglas.



Hong Kong | Japan, 1997, 84 min, Written and Produced by Tsui Hark

Half in hand-generated 2D, half in computer-generated 3D.

My first experience with director Tsui Hark was with his Once Upon a Time in China franchise, which is enormous, containing six movies and a TV series. It stars Jet Li as Wong Fei-hung, a martial arts master and folk hero portrayed in over 100 films and TV series. (He’s got his own theme song.) China’s opening sequence hooked me; it’s operatic, balletic, huge. The series’ movies are overstuffed, with plots that are a little hard to follow, but that’s a theme with Tsui’s movies. Tbh I don’t really mind because they’re so extravagant and big. 

Tsui’s involved in a whole bunch of films, also notably A Chinese Ghost Story, a cult movie about a dude who falls in love with a ghost and gets involved in underworldly shenanigans. It spawned sequels and an animated film directed toward children. Released a decade after the original, the animated version is pretty weird. The whole movie is a mix of 3D and 2D, created over four years with (for the time) ambitious CGI. It doesn’t always work, but it’s consistently maximalist, and it feels very Tsui. The kids in 1997 must have felt like they were on shrooms watching this.

Find it in the animation room under non-childrens animation. (It’s for kids, though.) 


Looking for more? Browse our big list of 350+ hard-to-find movies over on The Stranger.

*The fine print: Unstreamable means we couldn’t find it on Netflix, Hulu, Shudder, Disney+, or any of the other hundreds of streaming services available in the United States. We also couldn’t find it available for rent or purchase through platforms like Prime Video or iTunes. Yes, we know you can find many things online illegally, but we don’t consider user-generated videos, like unauthorized YouTube uploads, to be streamable.

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