Pictorial Palette: Gene Tierney

The Beautiful Gene Tierney ... beautiful is not a strong enough word!

When it comes to Technicolor, there are some names that are inextricably linked with that definitive Classic Hollywood process. Marilyn Monroe and her flaming pink Niagara dress? Vivien Leigh and her crimson negligee in Gone With the Wind? Classic. But while most people equate Gene Tierney with the sultry, smoky, definitively film noir shadows of black and white cinema, for me her ethereal beauty was simply made for Technicolor. Tierney’s extraordinary beauty is a matter of record. That stunning Laura portrait of her is matched only by the flesh itself– and bested in her subsequent color films. Leave Her to Heaven, with Leon Shamroy’s decadent cinematography, is her most famous color film. But even in her frivolous forays, like On the Riviera with Danny Kaye, the Technicolor Tierney is impossibly perfect.

This shot, fresh and carefree, is my personal favorite photo of Tierney. Young and energetic, she was still some time yet from those dark demons that would come to possess her.  The tragedy of her daughter’s birth was years off, and her internal personal battle, although prevalent, was not yet consuming.

I love the hope and life and genuine spark of this week’s Pictorial palette– and hope that Gene, a beautiful woman inside and out, enjoyed more of these joyful moments than her legend suggests.

the palette: #4E3CB6; #D92F4C; #F9ECE4; #271F5A

Posted by

Film writer and social media marketing professional. 2019 Social Ambassador for the 10th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival. Previously: social media associate at Warner Archive and script writer for Turner Classic Movies. Working on a Montgomery Clift biography due late 2020.

5 thoughts on “Pictorial Palette: Gene Tierney

  1. Gene Tierney truly was, tome, the most beautiful of American film stars — the cheekbones of Kate Hepburn, but with much prettier features (perhaps that’s why Spencer Tracy reportedly found her desirable?) Gorgeous in colour in films such as “Leave Her to Heaven” — though the perfect makeup, including fuchsia lipstick, didn’t quite seem appropriate after fling herself down a flight of stairs to induce a miscarriage. But in black and white! OMG, in “The Ghost and Mrs Muir,” that poignant tale of a couple who can never be truly together, she was heartbreakingly gorgeous. Even in later films, such as the slight but lovable “The Mating Season,” she was so beautiful; even her hair was strikingly lovely in that film. I have a copy of her autobiography; despite the tragedies of her life, including a daughter with developmental issues, a father who, managing her career, robbed her blind, and her own mental illness, this was a brave and gallant lady without a trace of self-pity.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Mitchell and you’re so right about Gene and her strength of character. For all the bad cards that life dealt her, she was NOT one to feel sorry for herself. A real square-shooter.

  2. I adore Gene Tierney and agree she was one of the most beautiful film stars, or women ever. Stunning, amazing and (outwardly) flawless!

  3. I’m three movies away from having seen all her films. We’ve been on a Gene Tierney marathon. Interesting that director Anatole Litvak was the first to notice her as a young girl, but never actually worked together.

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