Leave Her to Heaven

USA 1945. Dir John M. Stahl.

Preceding the screening on Sunday 25 May, Guest Curators Rebecca Arnold and Adrian Garvey will give a talk “ Sometimes the Truth is Wicked: Fashion, Violence and Obsession in Leave Her to Heaven.” Arnold is a Fashion Historian and a Research Fellow at Royal College of Art; Garvey is a Film Lecturer at Birkbeck College.

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.

"If Looks Could Kill features other films with iconic female villains" - ms .45, Office Killer, A Question of Silence, Asphalt, Desire, The Tenth Victim.
Also see Violent Years which has a whole gang of them.

BFI Southbank NFT2 Monday 19 May 2008, 18:20
BFI Southbank NFT2 Sunday 25 May 2008, 20:40