The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, November 18-24


Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
Directed by John M. Stahl
In Act I, Scene V of Hamlet, the ghost advises the Danish prince to leave Queen Gertrude “to heaven” when he’s plotting his murderous revenge, and perhaps that’s just what Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) should have done with his new wife Ellen Berent (the arresting Gene Tierney). This Technicolor noir begins when life is so simple—boy travels on a train, boy meets girl, they fall in love—but the complications arise after Ellen calls off her marriage to the formidable Russell Quinton (the delightfully eldritch Vincent Price), asks Richard to marry her, and begins to show signs of pathological behavior. Ellen’s devotion to her husband is carnal; she envies his interactions with other people, including his handicapped brother, their ranch hand, and her own sister. The envy balloons into malice soon enough, and Ellen goes so far as to harm herself and her unborn child to vie for Richard’s undying affections. Tierney’s performance—everything from her long, lean figure to her quivering, exotic expressions—was undoubtedly the best of her career. Samantha Vacca (November 22, 4pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s “Lonely Places: Film Noir and the American Landscape”)


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