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Leave Her to Heaven

171 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 unravels and Harland's work and invalid brother demand more and more of his attention. Her husband becomes unnerved by her compulsive and jealous behavior. And when the people close to him are murdered, one by one, it is obvious that this dream marriage has become a full-fledged nightmare. Based on the best-selling novel by Ben Ames Williams. This film won the Oscar(r) for Best Cinematography (Color) and received three other Academy Award(r) nominations: Best Actress for Gene Tierney, Best Sound Recording, and Best Art Direction (Color)/Interior Decoration.

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Leave Her to Heaven is one of the most unblinkingly perverse movies ever offered up as a prestige picture by a major studio in the golden age of Hollywood. Gene Tierney, whose lambent eyes, porcelain features, and sweep of healthy-American-girl hair customarily made her a 20th Century Fox icon of purity, scored an Oscar nomination playing a demonically obsessive daughter of privilege with her own monstrous notion of love. By the time she crosses eyebeams with popular novelist Cornel Wilde on a New Mexico-bound train, her jealous manipulations have driven her parents apart and her father to his grave. Well, no, not grave: Wilde soon gets to watch her gallop a glorious palomino across a red-rock horizon as she metronomically sows Dad's ashes to the winds. Mere screen moments later, she's jettisoned rising-politico fiancé Vincent Price and accepted a marriage proposal the besotted/bewildered Wilde hasn't quite made. Can the wrecking of his and several other lives be far behind? Not to mention a murder or two.

Fox gave Ben Ames Williams's bestselling novel (probably just the sort of book Wilde's character writes) the Class-A treatment. Alfred Newman's tympani-heavy music score signals both grandeur and pervasive psychosis, while spectacular, dust-jacket-worthy locations and Oscar-destined Technicolor cinematography by Leon Shamroy ensure our fixed gaze. Impeccably directed by the veteran John M. Stahl (who'd made the original Back Street, Imitation of Life, and Magnificent Obsession a decade earlier), the result is at once cuckoo and hieratic, and weirdly mesmerizing. Bet Luis Buñuel loved it. --Richard T. Jameson


Special Features

  • Restoration Comparison
  • Still Gallery
  • Fox Movietone News

Product Details

  • Actors: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price, Mary Philips
  • Directors: John M. Stahl
  • Writers: Ben Ames Williams, Jo Swerling
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck, William A. Bacher
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00074DY0M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,028 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Leave Her to Heaven" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael Click on July 9, 2005
Format: DVD
Movie: ***** DVD Transfer: ***** Extras: *****

20th Century-Fox's highest-grossing film of the 1940's showcases exquisite leading lady Gene Tierney in a mesmerizing, Oscar-nominated performance as a femme fatale whose placid beauty masks a murderously possessive heart. Based on the best-selling novel by Ben Ames Williams, the astonishingly perverse screenplay by Jo Swerling touches on such then-taboo (and still-shocking) subjects as incestuous obsession, the victimization of the disabled, self-induced abortion, and suicide disguised as homicide! Pretty potent stuff for its time, and it's all presented in lush candy-box Technicolor by Oscar-winner Leon Shamroy, whose masterful cinematography skillfully emphasizes a central theme of the film: that a beautiful surface can sometimes hide a thoroughly rotten core.

By design and through her acting skills, Miss Tierney's tour de force performance dominates the film; she especially shines in two challenging sequences, one involving a rowboat and another which takes place on a staircase. Among the supporting cast, solid work is turned in by Cornel Wilde as the object of Tierney's intensity; Jeanne Crain as her sweet-natured cousin and adopted sister; and Mary Philips as her alienated mother; but it is Vincent Price who stands out in a bravura performance as Tierney's former suitor. Price's character takes center stage throughout the final twenty minutes of the movie, and he plays some very long and difficult scenes with aplomb.

Fox Home Video's DVD presentation of this classic drama is truly impeccable, featuring a gorgeous, digitally restored print and remastered soundtrack.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By "scotsladdie" on May 16, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
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".
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Ilona Novotny on May 23, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
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!Read more ›
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Stacy D'Arc on March 1, 2005
Format: DVD
I have enjoyed this film for years and was very eager to have it come out on dvd. A smashing little thriller and a fine portrait of a woman who is a complete sociopath. Imagine my suprise that in all the world, Fox couldn't find two people who actually like the film to do the commentary track! Most of the track is taken up by the non-stop whinings of Darryl Hickman, the then teen aged actor who played Danny. He is currently a drama teacher who has discovered (I kid you not) "the definitive acting style for the new millenium", about which he is writing a book. And apparently everyone comes up short against his high standards. Gene Tierney was a lovely, troubled, cold stand-offish society woman of no discernible talent who telegraphs her technique. Both Cornel Wilde and Jeanne Crain were lovely people of limited abilities. Chill Wills was a personality and not an actor at all. The actress who plays Gene and Jeanne's mother was a stage actress and far too mannered and "internal" (?), not "in the moment". Only Vincent Price escapes his wrath, and even then he unfavorably compares his looks to Cornell Wilde's. The director treated him abominably, constantly referring to him as, gasp, "son". In fact, he doesn't think there should be child actors at all since it's so abusive. It seems this guy thinks every bit of film acting prior to "the method" was irredeemable garbage and the only admirable thing about the film is the cinematography. The film obviously interrupted his high times with Liz and Roddy and Shirley and other heavily dropped names of the period. Sad sad bitter man. You and Jay North need to form a club. I hope you are enjoying putting your impeccable technique to work in the many fine community theatre productions that you feel superior while doing.Read more ›
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