Fallen Angel

1945

Crime / Film-Noir

0
IMDb Rating 7.2

Synopsis


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English
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98 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bmacv 7

Otto Preminger rarely gets credit for being one of the founding fathers of film noir; in addition to this film, there's of course Laura, and Angel Face, Where the Sidewalk Ends, the Thirteenth Letter, and other films with a heavy noir influence (Man with the Golden Arm). Fallen Angel's least interesting aspect (interestingly) is its murder plot. The tainted, ambiguous relationships that Dana Andrews forges when he drifts into a California coastal village make this film a dark study in romantic pathology. It also features Linda Darnell at her most sultry and mercenary; Alice Faye (her only appearance, I think, in the noir cycle); John Carradine; Charles Bickford (as a policeman with a past); Ann Revere (whom most of us think of as a tenement mom to John Garfield); and even Percy Kilbride before his Pa Kettle days. Andrews' very layered tension between rich good gal Faye and gold-digging bad girl Darnell keeps the viewer off balance all the way through.

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Reviewed by cfryx 7

I agree with virtually all that has been written about this film. It is true that Alice Faye&#39;s part seems to be less than fully fleshed out. According to Alice, who was a dear friend of our family for many years, the reason she left pictures in a huff following her initial screening of the film was because most of her finest scenes were left on the cutting room floor. Zanick perceived an opportunity to beef up Linda Darnell&#39;s part by downplaying Alice&#39;s character. Zanick was having a romance with Darnell and wanted to give her part more prominence than the writer or Preminger intended. His ploy worked, but Alice was indeed so furious at what she perceived as sabotage to her part, she left the studio that very day and never returned. Since this left her in violation of her contract, Zanick saw to it that Alice was not hired by any other studio. As a consequence, she and husband Phil Harris turned to radio in the Phil Harris Alice Faye Show for eight years and it was a major success.<br/><br/>When Alice did agree, after fifteen years away from the screen, to appear as Pat Boone&#39;s mother in the remake of State Fair. Again, she was disappointed as the director Henry King, whom she had been promised would do the film, was reassigned and the film given to Jose Ferrer, who had never been to a state fair or directed a film. Thereafter Alice appeared only in a few bit parts and left screen roles completely.<br/><br/>But, I think Alice under-appreciated the work she did in Fallen Angel. The critics were not that hard on her, but she really wanted to make a major success in a dramatic role and unfortunately that didn&#39;t happen. The film, however, is very much worth seeing and has never been available on video previously. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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Reviewed by Piafredux 9

Sure, &#39;Fallen Angel&#39;s&#39; plot is full of holes and improbabilities - but what noir isn&#39;t full of them?! Indeed much of the appeal and frisson of the genre stems from its tales&#39; and characters&#39; nightmarish, inexplicable irrationality.<br/><br/>The almost always underrated Dana Andrews is superb here in a brilliantly understated performance: by posture, tilt of head, and deft deployment of his eyes he communicates more than most actors manage to tell with their whole scenery-chewing bodies; and Alice Faye kept me guessing: was her June the &quot;still water runs deep&quot; character whodunit? Most of all there&#39;s &#39;Fallen Angel&#39;s peerless camera-work and direction that raise it a notch or two above the rather overrated &#39;Laura&#39; - whose plot sometimes drags and which is chiefly rescued by the literate, finicky presence of Clifton Webb; and Gene Tierney&#39;s mannered, diffident, and albeit mysterious Laura isn&#39;t half the hard-boiled noir femme fatale that Linda Darnell&#39;s Stella is in &#39;Fallen Angel.&#39; There&#39;s another lovely, understated effort here from Bruce Cabot and still another from Percy Kilbride; but in the supporting cast Anne Revere stands out for moving the plot along, for creating tangible suspense, and for two solid moments of palpable nape-prickling foreboding.<br/><br/>&#39;Fallen Angel&#39; is just one of the most underrated noirs. Period.<br/><br/>Just one question I&#39;d like to put: when Dana Andrews enters the hotel auditorium during the spook show, is the blonde woman, seated on the aisle one row behind the brunette (Adele Jergens, uncredited) woman Andrews asks to shift over, his future &#39;The Best Years Of Our Lives&#39; co-star Virginia Mayo? She sure looks like Mayo.<br/><br/>By the way, the recent &#39;Fallen Angel&#39; DVD release commentary track by noir maven Eddie Muller is gracefully enhanced by his pairing with with Dana Andrews&#39; daughter Susan Andrews.

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