Leave Her To Heaven, starring Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, 20th Century Fox, 1945
I take my femme fatales on the low-down side. Gals like Mary Astor clawing for gold and that damn bird as the corpses pile up in The Maltese Falcon or Rita Hayworth getting guys, rational guys in most matters, to commit murder and mayhem just for a slight glance from those dancing eyes. Or, well, you get my drift. So when I run up against a high society femme like Ellen (played by demure, sort of on the surface, Gene Tierney) in the film under review, Leave Her To Heaven, I am not sure what to make of the situation. She doesn’t need dough, she doesn’t need a guy really (or she can have the pick of Back Bay Boston and other high tone watering spots as they line up six deep for her favors), or fame and glory. So what gives?
What gives is that our dear Ellen is a control freak, and an unrestrained sort when she hones in on her target. And her psycho behavior drives the plot here as she targets one bright star Mayfair swell literary man Richard (played by Cornel Wilde) to see if she can clip his wings. She tries through thick and thin to reduce her world to one (and almost succeeds as she already had driven her father off the edge, Richard’s brother, her unborn baby and was deep into setting her foster-sister Ruth, played by Jeanne Crain, before the wheels came off). My thought though as the story dragged on was that she should have just been sent over to McLean’s Hospital in Boston for a little rest. Say for about ten to twelve years. When it comes to femmes though give me those greedy girls like Ms. Astor and Ms. Hayworth every time.