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There were few actresses in Hollywood lovelier than Gene Tierney, which is evidenced by the Academy Award winning Technicolor cinematography of Leon Shamroy for Tierney’s only Oscar nominated performance in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN ($15). In direct contrast to the ugliness of her character’s inner self, Gene Tierney’s on screen beauty is luminescent across every frame of the film in which she appears. Based upon the book by Ben Ames Williams, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN tells the story of Ellen Berent (Gene Tierney), who meets author Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) on a train and she seems almost transfixed by the writer’s resemblance to her own deceased father. Despite being engaged to another man, Ellen enters into a whirlwind courtship with Richard, and within a matter of days the two are married. However, there are no "happily ever afters" in this tale, especially when Richard learns that Ellen’s love for him borders on the pathological. Not only does Ellen want to be the only woman in Richard’s life- she wants to be the only person and interest in his life as well. The cast of LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN also features Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price, Mary Philips, Ray Collins, Gene Lockhart, Reed Hadley, Darryl Hickman and Chill Wills.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN available on DVD in a transfer that frames the film in its proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratio. This is a truly beautiful looking transfer that restores the image quality of the film and does a fine job of recreating the IB Technicolor hues of the past. The picture appears reasonably sharp and well defined, although there is some mild softness in the medium and long shots. As I’ve already stated the colors do a fine job of recapturing the old Technicolor look quite nicely. However, there is a slight fuzziness to some of the more intense hues, but it is nothing one will ever find distracting. Blacks are velvety, whites are clean and contrast is pretty smooth. The film elements have been cleaned up and have had some digital restorative work applied that gives the movie a smooth and generally clean appearance, especially for a sixty-year-old motion picture. A grain structure is noticeable during the course of the movie, but it helps to give the presentation a film like appearance, instead of making it look like video. Digital compression artifacts are nicely contained throughout.

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN is offered with a remixed stereo soundtrack that decodes to surround reasonably well. Alfred Newman’s fine score gets a nice spread throughout the outlying channels, plus the musical fidelity is decent for a film of this vintage. The track also sports a slightly better than expected bottom end, which helps to keep the track grounded. Dialogue is well reproduced and maintains complete intelligibility. English monaural and Spanish monaural soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few very nice extra features. Starting things off is an informative and nostalgic audio commentary featuring actor Darryl Hickman and film critic Richard Schickel. Next up, is a restoration comparison of previous video incarnations of the film, versus the latest restorative efforts, plus the digital clean up work that has been applied. A gallery of production stills, newsreel footage of the film’s premiere, plus theatrical trailers for LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, IN OLD CHICAGO, THE PRIME OF JEAN BRODIE, THE SNAKE PIT, and THE THREE FACES OF EVE close out the extras.

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN is a genuine film classic that has been given a terrific presentation on DVD by the folks at Fox. If you are a fan of the lovely Gene Tierney, you will definitely to add LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN to your DVD collection. Recommended.



Leave Her to Heaven (1945)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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