Leave Her to Heaven ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Film noir in color -- incredibly slick Technicolor at that -- from 20th Century Fox, pushing along the unfathomably soapy tale of Gene Tierney as a manipulative woman whose frustration at her inept new husband's inability and unwillingness to secure alone time with her sends her into sociopathic murderess mode, explained away by the script as "loving too much." At its best it's lurid and shocking, but it never escapes a certain camp trashiness that keeps genuine menace from taking hold. Plus it winds up into a dull, conventional courtroom drama followed by an ending that has the nerve to co-opt the finale of Dodsworth; Vincent Price makes a delightful D.A., though. With no one else in the cast up to the task of matching or upstaging Tierney's joyous madness, least of all Cornel Wilde's preposterously clueless author, the best thing about this is probably its location porn -- Maine, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona and Monterey -- with an orgy of magazine pictorial-worthy interiors. It does go further in its outlandish character behaviors than most other Hollywood films would, but as usual it cops out and turns everything into sweetness 'n' light at the close of business, reminding us that at bottom, this really is just a business, and director Stahl shows little interest in seeing us past that realization.