The Unique Beauty of Gene Tierney
Excerpted from Michael Atkinson's essay, Dec 1994 Movieline magazine
Among faces, Gene Tierney's is a tournament rose, an opaline study in serene, sexualized perfection, a mad musky Egyptian daydream of cat thoughts.
It's a face that, yes, could make you half-believe in the human ideal, make you pass into a foggy romantic movie-trance of studio key lights and shadows with edges so soft you could lay your head down in them and sleep for a week. All you want as you're looking at her, all you think you'll ever want, is to get close enough to smell the lilac vapors rising from her shoulder.
Tierney's beauty lies somewhere between homespun Everygirl and Oriental exotic, shy high school sweetheart and man-eater.
Her eyes smile before her lips do.
But if the lips parted in a smile, you'd be witness to the sweetest overbite in Hollywood history.
This is a face built to be gazed upon.
Perhaps that's why 'Laura' was Tierney's breakout film. Deadpan cop Dana Andrews spends the whole first half of the movie falling in love with her portrait. When she shows up in the flesh, Andrews is shaken to the core. We are too.
'Laura' is hardly just a murder mystery; it's a meditation on the brute force of a beautiful face.
Movie Magazine Articles:
Cover Girl Closeup
Motion Picture magazine, April 1943
Reporter Sidney Skolsky
outlines some Tierney traits
Leave Heaven To Her
Modern Screen, January 1946
Life in the Cassini-Tierney household
Modern Screen, 1947
Brother-in-law Igor Cassini's contribution
Glamour is Her Business
Movies Magazine, January 1947
There's more to glamour than
Why Gene's Divorcing My Brother
Modern Screen, April 1947
Igor Cassini is back, with more on
his famous sister-in-law