Writers in moves: Leave Her to Heaven

This is my second offering in this series.

Leave Her to Heaven was a popular film noir (beautifully filmed in Technicolor, actually) from 1945.  Here is IMDB’s summary:

A writer meets a young socialite on board a train. The two fall in love and are married soon after, but her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of both them and everyone else around them.

Gene Tierney is the psychopathic socialite; Cornel Wilde is the writer.  The premise is fine, and Gene Tierney is great (and gorgeous).  The problem I had with the movie was that the Cornell Wilde character is a complete drip, and Cornell Wilde isn’t enough of an actor to make us care about him.

The fact that the main character is a writer is of little significance to the plot.  It mainly allows Wilde and Tierney to meet cute — he sees her reading his novel on a train.  This lets him quote a line from the novel to her:

When I looked at you, exotic words drifted across the mirror of my mind like clouds across the summer sky.

Oh, dear.  I’m pretty sure it’s always a mistake to quote from a fictional writer’s work in a movie.

(As an aside, on a plane once I sat across from a woman  who was reading something I had written — not one of my novels, alas, but a work-for-hire I had perpetrated for a high-tech company.  When I mentioned the coincidence to her as we deplaned, she was signally uninterested.  At least she wasn’t a psychopath.  I think.)

After the train scene, we just see Wilde occasionally pecking away at an old-fashioned manual typewriter, always wearing a writerly jacket and tie. There is no discussion of the creative process; there is no angst over deadlines; he finishes the book, and one day a copy arrives in the mail.  Writing novels is just what he does, because he comes from Boston, don’t you know, and went to Harvard.

I’ll just add that the trial sequence, featuring Vincent Price as the DA who was also Gene Tierney’s scorned lover, is about as over-the-top ridiculous as anything I’ve seen recently.

4 thoughts on “Writers in moves: Leave Her to Heaven

  1. Pingback: Writers in movies: Their Own Desire | richard bowker

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