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Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  20 December 1945 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,213 users  
Reviews: 115 user | 71 critic

A writer meets a young socialite on board a train. The two fall in love and are married soon after, but her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of both them and everyone else around them.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Airs Wed. Oct. 14, 8:00 PM on TCM


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Russell Quinton
Mary Philips ...
Mrs. Berent
Dr. Saunders
Dr. Mason
Leick Thome


Novelist Richard Harland and socialite Ellen Berent meet on a train to New Mexico. They are immediately attracted to each other, soon fall in love and decide to get married, about which everyone they know is happy except Ellen's fiancé back home, politician Russell Quinton. However, Richard and Ellen's love for each other is different than that of the other as Ellen demonstrates in the manner which she tells everyone of their impending marriage. Ellen's love for Richard is an obsessive, possessive one, much like the love she had for her now deceased father, who Richard physically resembles. Ellen wants Richard all to herself and resents anyone who even remotely takes a place in his life and heart, even if his love for that person is not a romantic one. These people include most specifically Richard's physically disabled teen-aged brother Danny Harland, Ellen's own adopted sister Ruth Berent, and a young man neither has gotten a chance to really know yet. After time, Richard learns to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The sin she committed in the name of love could not be judged by man...or punished by law! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Que el cielo la juzgue  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The famous (and dramatic) swimming scene that takes place in the lake for Darryl Hickman's character was in water so cold that the young actor caught pneumonia. See more »


When Ellen and Richard are arguing in the bedroom shortly after Ellen's family has arrived for their surprise visit, a crew member's shadow moves over the pair on the bottom half of the screen. See more »


Ellen Berent Harland: I keep forgetting you can't draw a deep breath without being heard all over the house!
Ellen Berent Harland: Let's change the name of the place from Back Of The Moon to Goldfish Manor.
See more »


Referenced in L.A. Noire (2011) See more »


Nocturne, Op. 27, No. 2
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Played on the piano by Ruth
See more »

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User Reviews

A Stunning Film
10 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Based on a novel by Ben Ames Williams, LEAVER HER TO HEAVEN is a stunning 40s film, filled with spectacular set decorations and Oscar-winning color cinematography.

The story is a solid melodrama about beautiful Ellen Berent (Gene Tierney in her Oscar-nominated performance) who marries a naive novelist (Cornel Wilde). He is drawn into her family on the eve of the ceremonial scattering of her father's ashes in New Mexico. From the getgo the family seems full of angst as everyone stays out of Ellen's way. On a whim, she breaks her engagement to a lawyer (Vincent Price) and marries Wilde.

Everything seems OK until they visit his crippled brother (Darryl Hickman) in Georgia. She seems jealous of Wilde's attention to the kid. Somehow, plans are made for the three of them to go to Wilde's "lodge" in Maine, where a faithful servant )Chill Wills) also lives. Tierney seems more and more edgy and starts to openly resent Hickman and Wills. And then her mother a step sister (Mary Philips, Jeanne Crain) arrive from Bar Harbor.

Everything starts to unravel at this point as Tierney becomes convinced that Wilde and falling for Crain. A series of mysterious accidents happen and there is a big (overblown) court case tried by the man (Price) she dumped to marry Wilde and a stunning turn of events.

The movie is gloriously filmed in rich Technicolor that accentuates deep reds, warm golds, and luscious shades of turquoise. The Maine and New Mexico interiors are just great and look like they came out of a contemporary magazine, including the simple little lodge by the lake. Also of note is the driving dramatic score by Alfred E. Newman.

Tierney is superb as the troubled Ellen and has never looked more beautiful. Wilde is suitable perplexed as the the novelist. Crain is solid as the stalwart sister. Price overacts outrageously (but it's fun). Philips, Wills, and Hickman are good. Others in the cast include Ray Collins, Olive Blakeney, Gene Lockhart, Mae Marsh, Grant Mitchell, and Reed Hadley.

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN ranks among the best melodramas of the 1940s.

45 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Commentary by Schickel + Hickman freakseed
Why did Harland get two years in prison? Turfseer
Tierney , Gardner or Hayworth? jim4146
House in New Mexico location? theladysif
'This movie may be the blackest Noir of them all.' wax1802
A great movie!!! madatthedirt
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