Sunday, 12 April 2009

Of all the seven deadly sins. Jealousy is the most deadly

No 346 - Leave Her to Heaven
Director - John M Stahl

Another old film that I have heard nothing about. I must say, that the big thing I'm going to have got from this game is a lot more cinematic culture drilled into my head.

This film seems to be the predecessor to stuff like Fatal Attraction, the concept of a couple being slowly sabotaged by a party within the relationship. In this case, it is the gradual disintegration if Ellen's sanity. The disintegration is a really disturbing thing to see, her character goes from being a flirty, delightful and very attractive to be vicious, cold and bat shit insane. The other thing is that as her sanity degrades, she becomes far less physically attractive too.

I don't want to go into too much description about what she does because that'll stumble into spoiler territory and that'll make me feel bad. However, the crux of it is she doesn't want ANYONE getting close to her man. That includes:
  • Her own family
  • His disabled younger brother (yeah, you see where this is going)
  • Her own unborn child (we're getting into dark territory)
Of course Richard Harland doesn't make it easy on himself. Being a little bit of a flirt. Especially with Ellen's sister. My little tip is - if you're dating a psychotically possessive madwoman, don't flirt with her sister.
Even though Ruth is a very pretty miss.

However, for a flirt he has some pretty hilarious tactics. He is an author, and sees a pretty girl on a train reading one of his books. So starts to quote it to her. Which did make me laugh. And which seemed to work as it certainly piqued her interest.

After a successful wooing, there left only one problem - her fiance.

Here we get to see the mighty VINCENT PRICE in full whack. What i like about this film is that even in 1945 the power of ratings was playing in marketing. For Price gets first billing in the film, despite having little more than a cameo. A very important cameo, but he does only appear in three scenes.
And he is SO young. Unrecognisably young.

I mean, the Vincent Price I know is the one from the 60s, all crazy eyes and creepy moustache. Not this fresh faced slip of a man. All handsome and broad shouldered. It is hardly natural.
In fact, I didn't realise it was him till he started speaking. It is quite strange to hear his creepy nasal voice coming from the strapping All American. However his part is excellent and when he appears for the court scenes he is unintentionally hilarious.
It seems that his prosecution of repeatedly badgering the witness with the same aggressive question (Do you love her? Do YOU love HER? DO YOU LOVE HER? etc) seems to work. As Richard is cleared of murder and instead gets some other jail sentence (I can't remember now) of only two years.
It is all somewhat ridiculous. The whole film is in fact.

However, for all the ridiculous, it does look beautiful. This is the thing I love about old films. Technicolour. Yes it makes most of the colours look oddly muted and pastel. But the primary colours are so beautiful. So vibrant. It makes skies, and eyes, and vistas astounding.

I could watch Technicolour films all day long.

(hmmm - another quite short blog.... but not much to say on this one. Ok, not brilliant film.)

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