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.