We enjoyed the vividly restored LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) the Technicolor/noiresque soap opera starring Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde, a top-grossing 20th Century-Fox film of the 1940s that had kind of gone missing.
The love story-turned-sour reminds us of the negative trajectory of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary or, frankly, of the many noir potboilers in which a gorgeous, scheming woman pulls down a good-hearted but naive man.
Cinematographer Leon Shamroy won an Oscar for the film’s picture-postcard tour of Taos, New Mexico, Warm Springs, Georgia, and Bar Harbor, Maine. Depicting a sumptuous bourgeois existence amidst the most beautiful landscapes the country has to offer, the film serves as a roadmap for American middle-class aspirations that would explode in the 1950s. Interestingly, it’s all about taming nature.
Gazing at the beautiful Ms. Tierney as she wafts through this film, we noted her striking resemblance to arts•meme‘s mother.
Or is it the other way around?
Former child actor Darryl Hickman, interviewed by genial TCM host Robert Osborne in a post-screening curtain talk, is seen here going down fast in an cold Maine lake while mademoiselle sits gripping the oars of the boat (see photo, above). According to Hickman, the scene took three weeks to complete and left him with zero good feelings toward either Ms. Tierney or the film’s director John M. Stahl. The lake drowning anticipates George Stevens’ better known, gender-reversed version for Monty Clift and Shelly Winters in A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951).