Friday, August 14, 2015

Gene Tierney


Beware: Black & white movie review.

For the last few weeks I've tvo'd a stack of Gene Tierney movies, most of them in black and white and one in color, called Leave Her To Heaven, in which she drowns the son of the man she wants.

And you still love her. 

She had more cheekbones and dark eyes and chin that ever was. One critic even reviewed her overbite.

I just finished watching The Razor's Edge, based on a W. Somerset Maugham's 1944 novel about rich people and Tyrone Power who goes off to India to find what life is about. But Gene
is after him, she marries someone else and lets a woman who wants to marry Tyrone slide off the wagon and die a horrible death. The final scene where she is ready to leave her family and husband and everything but Tyrone is to nice of a guy and says no.

And you still love her.

That's what Tierney had. 

Another favorite of mine is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, completely different role. She's an English woman who buys a house by the sea in England and is surprised to see it has a ghost played by Red Harrison.

In this one, she plays nice and you like her even more.  She's good in Heaven Can Wait. How's this for a story, a guy has to prove he belongs in Hell by telling his life story.

But probably the best movie she made was Laura in 1944. And of course, she was Laura.
This movie had a load of great character actors in this truly good "film noir" directed by Otto Preminger. The movie begins with Laura shot dead with a shotgun. From there Dana Andrews, a cop, investigates the murder. There are easily a dozen possibilities. And he is
beginning to fall in love with the painting of Laura.

As Dana digs deep into the life of Laura, a great twist happens close to the first half of the movie -- Laura walks into her apartment, not dead. Seems that Laura's girl-friend stayed there overnight and answered the door in Laura's sleeping gown.

Then Dana tries to figure out how of Laura's friends wanted her dead.

If you haven't ever seen this, find it. 

It also has one of the best character actors ever, Clifton Webb, who was a stage actor and who Preminger "discovered". Webb enjoyed a whole new career in movies and got a 10-year deal at 20th Century Fox after this movie. They did a few more movies together. His last scene in Razor's Edge bring you to tears.

 And then there was Bogart

  The movie was selected for preservation in  the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

For those of you who don't like black & white, I guarantee that after ten minutes with Laura, you'll forget about it.

What I learn about films is that a good movie is always a good movie and will stay as a good movie. What's interesting about these good old movies are the storylines. There was the usual junk as well then as is now. 

But they had great character actors to help carry the movie because, as we see now, actors have to carry the whole story and very few of them can do it.Guys and girls like Clifton Webb above.

I  think that today, her equal would probably be Angelina Jolie.

1 comment:

  1. Do you (or anyone else know) where I might find a copy of the screenplay or shooting script for "Leave Her to Heaven"?