on 12 September 2005
Jealousy is one of the seven deadly sins. Gene Tierney gives a powerful performance as the beautiful self-centered Ellen whose jealousy alienates everyone around her. Cornel Wilde plays her husband who gets more than he bargained for when he marries Ellen and becomes overwhelmed by his wife's obsessive love and jealousy.This is a good film with great performances from all the cast especially Tierney as the chilling Ellen. Jealousy is a dangerous emotion and this film skilfully portrays the devastating and destructive effect that is has upon people.
Lovely Ellen (Gene Tierney) meets handsome Richard (Cornel Wilde) and is instantly attracted to him because he is so like her late, beloved father. Although she's engaged to someone else, she marries Richard just days after meeting him. Her neurotic possessiveness means she can't allow anyone else near him - not even his disabled brother or unborn child - and now she's worried that her sister (Jeanne Crain) is in love with him. When her obsession finally drives him away, Ellen has one more trick up her sleeve; she'll punish both Richard and her sister from the grave.
This surprisingly dark and intense drama is made even more effective by its three beautiful stars and stunning location photography. Ellen goes from being odd to certifiably insane rather quickly; it was unnerving to have the star be the villain in 1945 and it still is. She is a master manipulator, callously offing her competition for Richard's time and affections while looking like a fashion-plate. Tierney was nominated for Best Actress for her performance, which gives me chills and yet I love to watch again and again. This is an unusual story, beautifully filmed and perfectly acted.
on 18 January 2007
Technicolor at its finest in this startling melodrama by John Stahl. Gene Tierney give her greatest performance as a woman unhinged by love and the lengths she is driven to,to maintain it. Cornel Wilde is a bit out of his depth as the object of her "affections", but Jeanne Crain and Vincent Price offer good value in support, the locations are stunning and one scene is so mesmirising as to be the working definition of "utter ruthlessness".
In 1944 Gene Tierney was Laura in Otto Preminger's classic of the same name. The next year, possibly because of that film, Fox made her star again as a "femme fatale" - only this time more "fatale". She plays a woman obsessed with her father, and the projected image of him in her newly found husband. To tell more, would be to spoil the film. She got her only Oscar nomination for this film (again, the omission in the previous year with "Laura" might have something to do with it) and its spellbinding to see her in muted technicolor, more beautiful than ever - yes, this is a film noir shot in colour. The cast also includes Jeanne Crain and Cornel Wilde (two of Fox's biggest starts at the time) and also Vincent Price as Tierney's rejected lover. The DVD is a barebone release with a copy that has its moments. Starts quite badly to improve as it goes on. Not a perfect film, but I was glad to find some new charm in it when I saw it recently.
Beautiful Ellen Berent unashamedly jilts her fiancé, Russell Quinton, for writer Richard Harland. Her attraction to Harland being that he reminds her of her deceased father. But soon it becomes evident that Ellen is very possessive and literally will do what it takes to keep all away from her newly obtained beau.
Director John M. Stahl and writer Jo Swerling adapt from the novel written by Ben Ames Williams. Filmed in luscious Technicolor by Leon Shamroy (Oscar winning), Leave Her To Heaven proves two indisputable things. One is that to craft a searing film noir it doesn't have to be filmed in monochrome, the other is that it's proof positive that Gene Tierney (Ellen) was more than just a gorgeously effective face.
Tierney of course needs no introduction to fans of film noir, her appearance and quality of performance in the previous years release of Laura ensures that. While to a lesser degree the mixed Whirlpool four years later also cements her status in the corridors of darkness. But an argument can be made for this being her crowning glory, both in terms of her effervescent beauty and of the performance she gives (Oscar nominated). It's not outrageous to say that the film achieves its greatest heights because of her portrayal as Ellen, a character that is the epitome of the femme fatale. Tierney has this beguiling knack of shifting from charm personified to outright evility, all within a heart beat. And amazingly as Ellen grows more warped and jealous, Tierney grows ever more sexy. It's not just Cornel Wilde's duped Richard Harland falling into her disturbed web, it's any watching male with a pulse. Even as the shockingly cold moments unravel, and there are some truly chilling ones for sure, Ellen draws us in with a lusty fascination that's rather unique.
Credit too must go to Stahl's direction, perhaps a director that unfairly sits in the lounge of the unsung? He weaves his story adroitly, setting up plot roads to keep us intrigued, only to then shift focus back on the dame holding court for characters and viewers alike. Wilde does fine, his mannered approach work works well off of Tierney's show stealing turn. While in support we get pretty as a picture Jeanne Crain as the crucial sister character, Ruth Berent, and Vincent Price, elegant as always, does his profession proud in the small but important role of the jilted Quinton.
Leave Her To Heaven - a must for noir fans - a must for Tierney fans - and one to get the best out of your High Definition TV. 8.5/10
on 22 November 2010
I first saw this film on TV about a year ago and did not have time to watch the full version, but I was drawn to the story and the malevolence of the main female character. I made a decision to buy it at some point and eventually got round to this recently. I was not disappointed. It is a fabulous film starring Gene Tierney and Cornell Wilde. Gene's character, Ellen makes a bee line for Cornell and from that moment on, he is trapped and anything or anyone that come between them is annihilated due to Ellen's obsessiveness and jealousy. There is a fabulous scene where Ellen scatters the ashes of her late father over the plains near their home whilst she is riding a Palomino and you do not expect the last scene which depicts the ultimate act of jealousy. Fab.
on 23 January 2002
Gene Tierney, one of the most beautiful woman of the silver screen, earned an Oscar nomination for her part on this movie.
She is playing a beautiful, but rather confused woman, which is terrible jealous, of everyone or everything that may stand between her and the man, she loves.
She is trying to murder the little brother of her husband, and she is trying to do the same thing with her unborn child.
Gene Tierney succeeds to earn admiration for her talent, and it is really pitty that personal problems have forced her to semi-retire in the mid-50's. She could have given classic portraits of beautiful women in other films, as she does here. (She died in '91.)
Although it is a melodrama, and to some viewers it may seem rather dated, the direction of John M. Stahl, and the supporting cast including Cornel Wilde, as Tierney's husband, Jeanne Crain, as her cousin, and Vincent Price, as the politicial, to whom she was engaged before she got married to Wilde, create a movie which is a must-see of the 40's.
Although Leon Shamroy won a deserved Oscar for his cinematography, let's not forget that the divine Gene Tierney was nominated too for her pitiable father-fixated young woman whom Cornel Wilde happens to meet on a train. She's reading a book he's written, they fall in love - or at least appear to, since little can be taken for granted in this almost uncategorisable 1945 drama, a kind of al fresco film noir, despite its briskly bright colours. In truth, it's more like one of those fifties melodramas that used to star Liz Taylor or Kim Novak.
What starts out as a slightly tense romance gradually becomes darker, even as the colour photography remains as bright as day. Locations change giddyingly (and sometimes confusingly, it must be said) between New Mexico, an interlude in Georgia, and the hero's large cabin on a lake in Maine.
Remember that lake: it has depths, and plays a pivotal part in proceedings.
Gene Tierney actively sought the role of troubled, selfish Ellen - which says a lot for her willingness to experiment and play diverse parts in her fascinating, if fairly brief, career. She's terrific, almost matched by a selfless, sincere performance by cartoonishly handsome Cornel Wilde as Richard, the writer who falls under her spell.
Vincent Price (who wouldn't quite relax on film until he met Roger Corman fifteen years later) is dynamic as Ellen's ex-lawyer-beau, the rarely seen Mary Phillips (once married to Bogart!) is very effective as Ellen's adoptive mother, and Jeanne Crain nicely understated as her younger sister, who comes to play an important part in the drama as it unfolds.
Even though this is in its way a pretty shocking tale, director John M. Stahl never hurries anything, giving characters and events time to develop, while we watch in mounting concern and nail-biting tension as the reality of what's really happening dawns on us. (I envy anyone seeing this for the first time.) In fact, Douglas Sirk could have directed it, though he would no doubt have given it a more cynical edge.
Gene Tierney has too often, despite the justifiably iconic Laura, been neglected when we talk of the great actresses of her era (the forties into the fifties) but I for one rarely tire of her subtly shaded, honest portrayals in films such as this, Laura, Where the Sidewalk Ends, or later The Ghost and Mrs Muir, for example, or Advise and Consent. She was a class act.
But this was arguably her best and most radical role. I wonder how Ellen would have got on with Laura...
A superb film, unmissable.
on 3 October 2014
'Leave Her to Heaven' is a film noir classic and one of the very few to be shot in colour. What a film!
I have seen this well over 20 times now in the last 40 years and yet I seem to find this film as fresh and interesting as the first time. Gene Tierney is exceptional as the jealous wife who loves her husband so much that she can't bear anyone else to be around him (gulp!) Cornel Wilde is so transfixed by Tierney's beauty he cannot see the warning signs that are obvious to the viewer right from the start but this is what makes the film so watchable. His descent into hell.
The film reflects American culture of the time so well - the notions of privilege and the wholesomeness that actually mask the loss of innocence especially after the war and encroaching paranoia of enemies - real, imagined and created.
Tierney was an underrated actress and the way her character switches in an instant from charm to outright evil is simply beguiling. She had starred in another noir classic the year before, 'Laura' but her role in 'Leave Her to Heaven' was by far her best and her Oscar nomination was well deserved. I simply cannot imagine any other actress as Ellen Berent.
The Technicolor photography here is muted and not as vibrant as one may expect but it is arresting nevertheless. The music is often ominous particularly in the funeral on horseback scene early in the film where the music reflects the majesty of the setting as well the pain of the proceedings rather well. I often wonder how someone like Bernard Herrmann might have scored this film and going by his music for 'Vertigo' and other classics I rather think he would have done a better job but that is not to say that Newman's score is not good - it is, only that Herrmann was a better composer in my opinion.
Just watch the film and enjoy! I would recommend watching this film on a balmy summer's night in a double bill with another famous film noir shot in colour, 'Slightly Scarlet' lensed by the brilliant John Alton, and which is a better example of Technicolor noir.
on 16 October 2012
Another day stuck indoors on come this film "Leave Her To Heaven" I was glued. The acting is first class, the
drama and suspense was all there. I have my own copy to watch over and over again. definately recommend it, Friday night
is movie night at home with friends.