Leave Her to Heaven
Reviewed in February 2010
Director: John M. Stahl. Cast: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Mary Philips, Darryl Hickman, Vincent Price, Ray Collins, Gene Lockhart, Chill Wills, Olive Blakeney, Reed Hadley. Screenplay: Jo Swerling (based on the novel by Ben Ames Williams).

Photo © 1945 20th Century Fox
Pounding drum even as 20thCFox logo starts fading in; improbably svelte and cheerful looking sky-grabber in fiited, flared pants on book cover; music is already a dense, crowded, and loud assault on the audience; Deer Lake, ME; "To a man like that, two years in prison is worse than hell"; "Well, of all the seven deadly sins, jealousy is the most deadly"; "I read the newsppaers, but somehow I never could make heads or tails of it" - "Yet, of all the people involved, I suppose I'm th eonly one who knew the whole story"; Flasbhack to Jacinto, NMex, GT reading Time w/o End by CW as he watches; seems awfully staged; an almost sick-making roseate color to these images; an unhealthy vibrancy, if that makes any sense; CW looking as usual like a more doe-like, pretty-boy Dana Andrews without seeming nearly as interesting or likable; GT: "Because you look so much like my father"; judicial discourse - "exotic words drifted across the mirror of my mind..."; "Watching you I thought of tales in the Arabian Nights, of myrrh and frankincense"; GT always came to NMex with her father, but mother never came and doesn't like it now; Olive Blakeney as Louise, unrecognizable from EPerilous; An awfully forced, false, and pedestrian execution of what is obviusly an insane, Duel in the Sun image from the novel - GT dispersing fathers ashes on horseback on NM mesas, looking like she's shaking them impassively out of her tits, whil the Alfred Newman score crashes on and on - and she just tosses the urn into a canyon!; I'm sorry, but I have to admit I'm finding the coloration rather garish, however inspired by bright, Southwestern palettes; "You know, if you'd lived in Salem 100 years ago, they'd have burned you" - 100 years ago?; GT has this great way of saying, "Turkey - wild turkey" - offhanded yet seductive, she knows he doesn't know, but is also tossing it off, almost perky; But GT is selling the "woman of mystery" thing a little hard, her voice getting flat, and the photography doing surprisingly little for her round face and thin, delicate, linear features; JC isn't GT's sister but her cousin, who's been adopted into the family; Daringly obscure, almost muddy yet bright-toned shot of GT swimming toward, nearly ruined by the line, "How's that for an entrance?"; GT announces CW as her fiance just to get VP off her tail, but then makes it true; "Chapter Pages" that say things like "Warm Springs, Georgia," even though we're meant to take this as Collins' memory?; Consomme a la patchouli? - "I don't want anyone else to do anything for you..."; "I don't know how you did it, you must have practically WILLED that boy to walk" (Dr Mason); "But after all, he's a cripple!" (Whooo, girl!) Durn, does this doctor dislike her; Fraught trip to "Back of the Moon"; GT: "I hate your chapter. I hate all your chapters. They take up too much of your time"; Everyone's ignoring GT in Bar Harbor after Danny drowns, though the music is crashing around; MP, JC, and CW have turned father's laboratory into the imminent baby's nursery, and she's furious, in her turquoise, square-shouldered coat with crochet-pattern sleeves; GT: "Look at me. I hate the little beast, I wish it would die"; Floating angelically after she's hurtled herself down the stairs; The subversive kick of GT's accident is that we're actually ROOTING for the death of the child, aren't we?; MP: "First his brother, now his son"; Frequently heavy, lead-colored skies - when Danny drowns, and when GT goes bathing after fall/miscarriage; JC's hardness is actually rather intriguing for this part, since it raises a question of how much CW would want to stay in this family; CW has written The Deep Well and dedicated it to "The Girl with the Hoe" (JC); "This whole house is filled with hate, your hate" / "Not hate - love!"; GT: "Yes, I did let him drown, and I'd do it again; I didn't want him around, I didn't want anyone around except you!"; So why are there still 25 minutes to go?; GT frames JC for killing her with poison, tried by former fiance VP, now the DA; - upwards of 15 minutes of this?; "Are you in love with Ruth? Are you in love with Ruth? Are you in love with Ruth?"; B

Academy Award Nominations and Winners:
Best Actress: Gene Tierney
Best Cinematography (Color): Leon Shamroy
Best Art Direction (Color): Lyle R. Wheeler; Maurice Ransford & Thomas Little
Best Sound: Thomas T. Moulton

Permalink Home 1945 ABC Blog E-Mail