Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Twilight Timey: LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN Blu-ray ""

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Twilight Timey: LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN Blu-ray

I've kinda had a crush on Gene Tierney since my college years when I saw Otto Preminger's LAURA for the first time. She plays the titular character there and her beauty is idolized and fetishized in the film. I totally bought into that. She becomes this almost mythical character in that film and it makes it all the more haunting. In LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, she is haunting in a different way. Haunting in this creepy, sociopathic way. She plays a woman named Ellen Berent. We get a sense something is off with her within minutes of first seeing her in the film. Author Richard Harland(Cornel Wilde) encounters her on a train and she stares at him for a good long awkward minute. She goes on to tell him he reminds bears a striking to her father, who we soon find out is recently deceased. After an odd whirlwind romance, Richard and Ellen are married and things begin to descend into darkness. I won't spoil the details, but suffice it to say that even upon a second(or third)I viewing was absolutely transfixed and mesmerized by the movie. During this go round, I was very focused on watching the way that Ellen's family(her adopted sister and mother) behaved. They play a big part in the film and it was especially interesting to see how they interacted with Richard and what they were not so subtly trying to say without saying it. Sorry to be cryptic, but I'd rather that first time viewers go into watching this film with as little detail of the story as possible. Just know that despite the lovely Technicolor palette, this film is a Noir through and through. That is certainly one unique thing about it.
Speaking of the color in the film, let me just take a moment to say that Twilight Time's Blu-ray transfer is simply breathtaking. My wife and I often found ourselves almost distracted by the detail we could see in the makeup and wardrobes of the actors. It makes for  very immersive experience. I would still very much love to see a nice print of this film projected in a theater, but this Blu-ray is something special and I am very pleased with it.
As I said earlier, I am a big fan of Gene Tierney. She's lovely to look at in the film and gives a remarkably unsettling performance here. I know I also mentioned Cornel Wilde. I like him a lot as well as both an actor and director(see THE BIG COMBO & THE NAKED PREY as two examples of Wilde movies I like a lot). What I neglected to mention is that Vincent Price is also present here too. I absolutely adore Vincent Price. He is one of those actors whose meer presence in almost any film elevates it for me. I cannot even explain what it is about him that grabs me but I just love his acting, the way he speaks and everything. I think I had gotten used to seeing him in the many gothic-type roles he was often known for and got into him that way. He amused me but he didn't stand out as much at first. Then I saw him in earlier films were he often took on these sort of playboy-ish roles. I think the first one like this that I saw was HIS KIND OF WOMAN. Price plays a boorish actor named Mark Cardigan(still one of the best character names ever) and he eats it up. He is so funny and entertaining in that role. I then saw him in LAURA(also playing opposite Gene Tierney) and his cad-ish Shelby Carpenter really stood out. He just makes me smile when I'm watching him in the thick of some clever or attempting-to-be-clever character like that. So when he pops up near the beginning of LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, he really livens things up. He then disappears from the film until later and when he returns, he returns with a vengeance. He is just one of those actors I love to watch. Anyway, the movie itself is a wonderful, deep, dark Noir tale of obsession and mental instability. It is quite memorable and worth your time if you haven't already seen it. Gene Tierney made LAURA in 1944 and this film in 1945 and they would make quite a psychological double feature in that in one film she plays the object of obsession and in the other she obsesses. 
This Blu-ray is highly recommended. It can be purchased via Screen Archives and is a limited edition of 3000:
http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/24842/LEAVE-HER-TO-HEAVEN-1945/


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