I decided to watch Leave Her to Heaven yesterday late at night. I was in the mood for something that will make me think. And because I heard about the infamous boat scene, one of the most disturbing sequences in the history of Hollywood, I chose it... I can tell you this, it's one impossible to forget once you've watched the movie. It's Gene Tierney, of course, who makes it memorable... Her coolness and aloofness at times will make you love to hate her. She embodies the essence of a typical femme fatale. She is truly exceptional, at her very best in the role of psychotic Ellen Berent, delivering a layered, riveting performance. Gene's angelic beauty and her cruelty are a daunting lethal combination.
For me it's the story, the setting, the various characters, and the epic performances that makes this film noir, a weekend treat.
The color throughout the movie is beautiful, a dreamy palette of teal and white... In her role Gene presents the perfect 40s fashion. Great hair, perfect makeup, gorgeous sunglasses, and big shoulders. Ellen's costumes, ranging from sumptuous fur coats, sheath dresses and wide shouldered blouses, to wide trousers and checked shirts, were designed by Kay Nelson. However, the best look was during the boat scene; a killer look, in the literal sense of the word! The sunglasses, the perfect silky make-up finished off with red lipstick, not to mention those locks that were styled to utter perfection. As Vogue was stating back in the day, Hollywood was "certainly the most perfect visual medium of fashion propaganda that ever existed."