The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, July 1-7

07/01/2015 8:00 AM |

leave-her-to-heaven-gene-tierney-ashes

Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
Directed by John M. Stahl
Leading with her avid overbite, Gene Tierney meets author Cornel Wilde while reading one of his books, his author photo tiny in her hands, in this “woman’s picture” gender reversal of her role as the art-object of desire in the previous year’s noirish Laura. She orchestrates their marriage by fiat, her favorite line in the vows being “forsaking all others”: his crippled brother, her kid sister, his writing. Barely blinking, Tierney moves like a living department store mannequin: as she scatters Daddy’s ashes from galloping horseback into the empurpled New Mexico night while Alfred Newman’s tom-tom score thumpa-thumps; as she bystands, cold as ice, in a drowning sequence more sadistic than Hitchcock had been to that point. Stahl poses his characters in front of lavishly appointed settings — Southwestern ranches and New England cabins — whose colors, like Tierney herself, seem to bulge against their outlines. Mark Asch (July 2, 7:15pm; July 3, 1:30pm at MoMA’s “Glorious Technicolor”)