Leave Her to Heaven (1945) - Rotten Tomatoes

Leave Her to Heaven (1945)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Leave Her to Heaven Photos

Movie Info

Ellen Berent (Gene Tierney) meets and falls desperately in love with Richard Harland (Cornell Wilde), an author who resembles her late father. Ellen is pathologically possessive of Richard, jealous of anyone who he pays the slightest attention to. In order to be completely alone with him, she convinces him to live in a isolated, but beautiful lakeside home in a spot called "Back of the Moon. " She dismisses the local handyman and then drowns his crippled half-brother Danny (Darryl Hickman). To Richard's delight, Ellen becomes pregnant. Ellen, resentful of the restriction caused by the pregnancy and afraid that she will lose some of Richard's love and attention, causes a miscarriage by throwing herself down the stairs. Ellen also becomes insanely jealous of her foster sister Ruth (Jeanne Crain), who is open and uncomplicated and soon becomes Richard's friend. Finally, Ellen confesses to Richard what she has done. Seeing his horror and revulsion and fearful of losing his love to Ruth, Ellen poisons herself and makes it look as though Ellen and Richard have murdered her. Both are tried, and Ruth is acquitted, but Richard is found guilty of being an accessory to Ellen's murder. Ruth, having come to love him, waits while he serves his prison sentence. Gene Tierney, in an Oscar nominated performance, is fascinating as the ravishing killer making Wilde and Crain seem dull by comparison. Leave Her to Heaven with its beautiful photography remains an exciting and engrossing story of obsessive love and jealousy.

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Gene Tierney
as Ellen Berent Harland
Cornel Wilde
as Richard Harland
Vincent Price
as Russell Quinton
Jeanne Crain
as Ruth Berent
Mary Philips
as Mrs. Berent
Ray Collins
as Glen Robie
Gene Lockhart
as Dr. Saunders
Reed Hadley
as Dr. Mason
Darryl Hickman
as Danny Harland
Chill Wills
as Leick Thorne
Olive Blakeney
as Mrs. Robie
Harry Depp
as Catterson
Hugh Maguire
as Lin Robie
Betty Hannon
as Tess Robie
Kay Riley
as Nurse
Mae Marsh
as Fisherwoman
Audrey Betz
as Cook at Robie's Ranch
Guy Beach
as Sheriff
Jim Farley
as Conductor
View All

Critic Reviews for Leave Her to Heaven

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (9)

It is a story of in-law trouble carried to awful extremes. But it is hard to work up any sustained sympathy for the uptight characters.

February 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Gothic psychologizing melodrama, so preposterously full-blown and straight-faced that it's a juicy entertainment.

April 7, 2016 | Full Review…

Stahl's use of space and the performances in Leave Her to Heaven...suggest he was at least the equal of the much-exalted Sirk as an artist of melodrama.

March 6, 2009 | Full Review…

Tierney's Ellen Berent [is] one of cinema's most chilling psychopaths.

March 3, 2009 | Full Review…

As for the brother's death, with Ellen looking on coolly in white robe and shades, it remains one of the most perturbing in the history of Hollywood.

March 2, 2009 | Full Review…

Has emotional power in the jealousy theme but it hasn't been as forcefully interpreted by the leads as it could have been in more histrionically capable hands.

May 30, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Leave Her to Heaven

Gene Tierney plays the woman who's got it all ... except upstairs between her ears, and Cornel Wilde and Jeanne Crain endeavor mightily to tolerate her. They hardly can bear up. Vincent Price does a great job however as an abusive District Attorney, stealing the film. The action happens in that popular magazine cover perfect world that ruled in Hollywood film at that time. There's one scene, for instance, where Tierney, supposed pregnant (altho that's impossible to see) looks in a mirror horrified: "I look terrible," she says, when she doesn't look that way at all, when nothing in the film looks that way.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Gene Tierney succeeds playing against character, substituting her angelic presence for a childish, treacherous and venomous femme fatale. Noir in blazing technicolor, beautifully shot.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

Gene Tierney's character gets my vote as the most cold-hearted, sociopathic, beautifully packaged villain to ever grace the silver screen. On a scale of pure evil she's right up there with Hannibal Lector and the shark from Jaws.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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