‘A “film noir in colour” (per Martin Scorsese) and a masterpiece of post-World War II American cinema… director John M Stahl’s gaze remains spare and precise, very Japanese in effect, like an acidic fusion of Ozu and Naruse’ The Time Out Film Guide
‘[Technicolor] reached its astounding apogee in the lips of Gene Tierney, as red as a witch’s apple. Each frame of her appears to be hand-tinted as if she had ordered it’ Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
Adapted from the Ben Ames Williams bestseller, 1945’s Leave Her to Heaven, was a Hollywood blockbuster whose reputation has only grown with time. A ‘juicy Technicolor melodrama’ with the shadowy heart of a film noir, it focuses on the alluring Ellen (Gene Tierney), a femme fatale whose elegant exterior conceals depths of feverish jealousy that drive her to commit a most heinous crime.
Vincent Price plays Ellen’s jilted attorney lover Russell Quinton who gets his sweet revenge when he turns prosecutor in Ruth’s trial. Although lushly photographed (by Leon Shamroy, whose work would win him a well-deserved Oscar), the film was directed with admirable austerity by veteran John M Stahl and features a potent score from Alfred Newman.
In May 2013, Leave Her to Heaven got a limited edition US Blu-ray release from Twilight Time, which included an audio commentary with Darryl Hickman and critic Richard Schickel, Movietone new footage, and trailer. Plus, Newman’s score is an isolated track. Currently, on Amazon, it’s going for an unbelievably high price of £108.05. A Region 2 Blu-ray has also been released in Spain at a much more affordable £15.00.