Leave Her to Heaven

USA 1945. Dir John M. Stahl.

With Gene Tierney. 105 min.

Throughout John M. Stahl’s 1945 noirish melodrama, Gene Tierney’s character Ellen Berent Harland presents a mask of impenetrable beauty. Immaculately groomed and coordinated, her style speaks of wealth and exclusivity. This is echoed in the cinematography’s luxurious Technicolor, which emphasises the impressive vistas of the American landscape. However, beneath this apparently idyllic façade is a dark, psychological story of obsession and violence. Rather than being at one with the natural environments she inhabits, Ellen is alienated and disturbed, with her repressed emotions expressed through the dramatic mise-en-scène and costume.