Tonight's Saturday Night Cinema classic is Leave Her to Heaven. Gene Tierney is exquisite, and her beauty is captured in such glorious colour. And Jeanne Crain is something to behold. What's interesting is that up until this film, the underrated Tierney was certainly considered the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, but not necessarily a world class actress. This film changed all that. She was nominated for best actress for this film (her only Oscar nod). It was cited by the acclaimed director Martin Scorsese as one of his favorite films of all time; he assessed Gene Tierney as "one of the most underrated actresses of the Golden Era."
It is a riveting tale; think of it as film noir ..... in sumptuous technicolor. Tierney is pathologically in love with writer Cornel Wilde, and will stop at nothing from having her man completely and utterly to herself. Her feverish jealousy renders Tierney's Ellen one of the most chilling psychopaths in cinema history.
Everything in this film is spectacularly beautiful; "too beautiful," opined Paul Brenner, film critic.
Tierney is cold and perfect, her kid sister Jeanne Crain is the embodiment of goodness, and it all plays out against the lush expanses of the American Southwest.The film's title comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. In Act I, Scene V, the Ghost urges Hamlet not to seek vengeance against Queen Gertrude, but rather to "leave her to heaven, and to those thorns that in her bosom lodge to prick and sting her."
Melodramatic? Uh huh. Over the top? Absolutely. That's what makes it so delicious.