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Leave Her to Heaven
Leave Her to Heaven
Actors: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price, Mary Philips
Director: John M. Stahl
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2005     1hr 50min

Leave Her To Heaven is a stylish psychological thriller starring Gene Tierney as Ellen, the stunningly beautiful wife of handsome writer Richard Harland, played by Cornel Wilde. Ellen panics as her perfect marriage u...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price, Mary Philips
Director: John M. Stahl
Creators: Leon Shamroy, James B. Clark, Darryl F. Zanuck, William A. Bacher, Ben Ames Williams, Jo Swerling
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Classics, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/22/2005
Original Release Date: 12/20/1945
Theatrical Release Date: 12/20/1945
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 50min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

If looks could kill...
Michael M. Wilk | Howard Beach, NY | 05/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Gene Tierney, with her beautiful cheekbones, creamy skin, icy blue eyes, delicious overbite, and chestnut hair, was a vision of loveliness-one of the great beauties of the screen. She was also an underrated actress, who played "good" girls in films such as "Heaven Can Wait", "Laura", "The Ghost and Mrs Muir", and "Dragonwyck",and bitches in films such as "The Razor's Edge", "The Egyptian", and, of course, "Leave Her to Heaven" a technicolor "film noir". In this, her Oscar-nominated role, she plays Ellen Berent, a woman whose insane jealousy and possessiveness causes misery and death to those around her. She sets her eyes on writer Richard Harland, (Cornel Wilde) who reminds her of her late father. Ellen had an unusual, almost incestuous relationship with her father-one even suspects that she drove him to his death. Having jilted her district attorney fiancee Russell Quentin, played by Vincent Price, she sets out to hook Harland. It seems that Ellen doesn't want to share her husband's affections with anyone, including his crippled kid brother, whom she lets drown when he attempts to swim across a lake, and her unborn child, when she deliberately throws herself down a flight of stairs to induce a miscarriage. When Ellen's jealousy of her sister's relationship and budding affection for her husband, along with his discovery of the truth of his brother's and unborn child's deaths force him to leave her in disgust, she plots the ultimate act of vindictiveness-she fatally poisons herself, and sends a letter implicating her sister and husband to her ex-fiancee Quentin. This doll didn't play! Miss Tierney, who had suffered a nervous breakdown in the 1950s after a series of unfortunate incidents in her personal life, wrote in her book "Self Portrait", that the character she played in this film was insane-and that she tried very hard,and convincingly, to make others think that she was not. Miss Tierney's performance is very believable, restrained, and positively chilling. The Technicolor photography, while beautiful, has a certain "chilliness" which actually heightens the film's drama-a rather unusual twist, as this type of fare was usually filmed in black and white. Add to this a powerful, chilling score by Alfred Newman, good performances by Wilde, Price, the lovely Jeanne Crain, and Darryl Hickman, and you have an entertaining, slickly produced melodrama. Yes, jealousy is one of the seven deadly sins-and in this film, it is "deadlier than the male"!"
scotsladdie | 05/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The real star of this fascinating little movie is the breath-taking Technicolor photography of Maine and New Mexico; even the architecture is great to look at (as is the gorgeous Gene Tierney!). Tierney's role of Ellen Berent has received almost cult status over the years since her character is that of an obsessive and cruel, selfish and evil woman; her relationship with Cornel Wilde indeed makes for an unusual and strange love story! Ben Ames William's novel of the same name was released in 1944 and was read by over a million people; the public was obviously captivated by this lurid little tale of a psychopathic wife. While being more than a little melodramatic, the story's believability is quite implausible at times, however the film lingers in the psyche nevertheless (the scene where Ellen lets Wilde's crippled little brother Hickman drown out of sheer jealousy is genuinely disturbing). Classic line: Ellen's mother: "There's nothing wrong with Ellen. She just loves too much!" Rarely has such a wicked woman looked as beautiful as Tierney does in this unusual story of obsessive "love"."
"I'll never let you go, never!"
W. Oliver | Alabama | 05/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"An example of 1940s romantic melodrama at its best, "Leave Her To Heaven" may seem like an outlandish story but it is a memorable one and certainly one of the most gorgeously photographed Technicolor films ever made (the visual style of the film is similar to Douglas Sirk's 1950s melodramas). The photography by Leon Shamroy (who won a well deserved Oscar for this) features beautiful location settings in New Mexico, Arizona and Bass Lake, California. Gene Tierney, fresh from her most famous role in "Laura" is outrageously gorgeous as the cold and insanely jealous heroine. Jeanne Crain, in one of her first roles, is a tad plastic as the sympathetic half sister and Cornel Wilde is fine as the hapless fly drawn into Tierney's web.

DVD extras include a photo gallery, two Movietone features (one on the Academy Awards and the other on the premiere) and an audio commentary by TIME critic Richard Schickel and actor Darryl Hickman, who played Danny in the film. Schnickel's comments are not particularly interesting but Hickman's recollections of being a child actor and working on the set of "LHTH" are often fascinating. Hickman recalls friendships with fellow child stars Shirley Temple and Roddy McDowell and talks about what difficult lives child actors endured. His comments about the actors he worked with are particularly interesting - Gene Tierney was remote and unkind to both him and co-star Cornel Wilde and director John Stahl doesn't recieve kind remarks either. On the other hand, Hickman remembers Cornel Wilde and Jeanne Crain as kind and easy to work with. Hickman has since become an acting teacher and coach and his comments are often concerned with acting techniques (he is especially unimpressed with Tierney's acting abilities)."
Dark Melodrama in Very Bright Early Technicolor.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 05/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Leave Her to Heaven " is often considered to be the only color film noir of the classic era. Its bright, oversaturated Technicolor does belie the film's themes, but "Leave Her to Heaven" is more dark melodrama than film noir. The story is grounded in emotions, not ambition; love, not sex; culpability, not cynicism. The film is based on the novel by Ben Ames Williams and directed by John M. Stahl. Cinematographer Leon Shamroy won an Oscar in 1946 for his wonderful work. In fact, "Leave Her to Heaven"'s most striking aspect may be its predominant oranges and blues and intricate shadow play. This early Technicolor film stock produced downright garish colors and little texture, but the production design and cinematography are so masterful as to outshine the film stock's limitations.

The tale is told in flashback by Glen Robie (Ray Collins), an attorney whose friend and client Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) has just regained his freedom after spending 2 years in prison. Robie relates the story of Harland's troubles, which started when Harland, a novelist by profession, met his wife: On a train en route to New Mexico, Harland meets a beautiful young woman of privilege named Ellen Berent (Gene Tierney). Immediately taken with Ellen, Harland is elated to find that they will be staying at the same ranch, along with Ellen's family. Ellen is engaged to be married to an ambitious hometown politician, but she favors Richard, so breaks her engagement. They are married after a whirlwind romance and move to Harland's lakeside lodge in Maine, along with Richard's crippled young brother Danny (Darryl Hickman). But Ellen has an all-consuming need to be with her husband and is insanely jealous of any attention he gives anyone or anything else -a need that threatens to consume everyone she touches.

Gene Tierney's character is a femme fatale, but not the sort normally associated with film noir. She's sinister and scheming, but driven by impulse and intense emotions, not by ambition. Ellen is the housewife from hell. As her mother says, somewhat optimistically, "There's nothing wrong with Ellen. She just loves too much." Ellen is a strong character in spite of the oppressive domestic love that consumes her, smothers every man she attaches herself to, and torments everyone around her. For all of this, Ellen hates children and is rather athletic, so she isn't simply an over-the-top cliché. She's unbalanced, but she's single-minded to a fault. I don't know if this film will appeal to fans of film noir, because it is simply about the destruction wreaked by one emotionally ill woman. But "Leave Her to Heaven" is quite a good film in its own right thanks to a strong script, Gene Tierney's star power, brilliant cinematography, and notable supporting performances by Mary Phillips as Ellen's mother and Vincent Price as her ex-fiancé.

The DVD (20th Century Fox 2005 release): Bonus features include a "Still Gallery" of on-set photos, 2 "Hollywood Spotlight" featurettes of old new reels, a restoration comparison, a theatrical trailer, and an audio commentary. "Galaxy of Stars Attend World Movie Premiere" (1 minute) is newsreel footage of the red carpet at the film's 1945 premiere. "Motion Picture Awards 'Oscar' for Film Achievements" (1 minute) is footage of Leon Shamroy receiving his Oscar for cinematography at the 1946 Academy Awards. There are newsreels or trailers for 4 other films. "Restoration Comparison" (2 minutes) shows side-by-side comparisons of the 1994 film transfer, the 2003 film restoration, and the 2003 DVD for several scenes. The audio commentary is by film critic Richard Schickel and Darryl Hickman, who played Danny in the film when he was 13 years old. These 2 commentaries were recorded separately and put on the same track, which is a little awkward in this case. Schickel talks about actors, story, characters, and a little bit about style. Hickman, who now teaches acting, talks about his career as a child actor, his experiences shooting the film, and the interrelationships between people on the set. He gets gossipy at times, but his commentary includes some interesting observations. Subtitles are available for the film in English and Spanish. Dubbing is available in Spanish."