I have to admit something to you: I love to watch an actress be a total bitch on-screen. I find it sort of empowering (although a lot of my college feminist friends would take issue with that) to see a woman be conniving and backstabbing on-screen. There is just a sort of magnetism to them that overpowers any other person in the film. I have only seen Gene Tierney in a few pictures but she seems to really excel at being a bitch on-screen. According to film historians, Leave Her to Heaven is Ms. Tierney’s height of icy bitchiness. I definitely believe it. It is awesome.
Gene Tierney plays a woman obsessed with her husband. She will do anything to get some time alone with him. This includes killing his paraplegic brother, falling down the stairs to have a miscarriage, and many other smaller things. That’s right. She kills an innocent handicapped young man because he comes between her and her husband. Her red lipstick and beautiful green eyes shine on-screen as she says such mean and conniving things. Her husband is innocent and sweet, therefore boring. I don’t even recall the actor’s name. But I do recall Vincent Price being the male version of her. He prosecutes her sister for her murder and he does it so over the top that I want to re watch every scene he is in. Vincent Price is always such a treasure to watch on-screen. Every scene is enhanced by the Technicolor process. Each dress Gene wears, each interior she walks into, each time the camera focuses on her face with those bright red lips, pops and makes the film even more over the top.
Her need to be loved and be wanted was totally justified. She is not wanting any thing that isn’t required to have a good relationship. She wants to be alone with her husband, but he seems to not want the same thing. She is unfulfilled by the domestic life, always setting the table for him, cleaning the various houses, cooking and lounging around while he works on his book or hangs out with his brother. He never recognizes this need. If he had realized from the beginning that she needed some alone time with him, then she maybe would never have done the things she resorts to. But of course if he did pay attention to her, then there would be no source of drama.
This film is a definite classic.