Black Angel - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Black Angel Reviews

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June 16, 2016
The detectove whodunit angel just doesn't stick.
August 24, 2015
well crafted film noir from Universal studios
½ June 22, 2015
Entertaining enough, sort of a paint by numbers pic.
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2012
An obscure and not very well known B-Noir film. Except for a small Peter Lorre role the cast is not as illustrous as in many other noirs from the forties. Yet, the movie is very watchable and a classic with an odd but good twist coming at you in the end. Also, occasionally the movie would loose its grittyness and typical cinematography, by introducing a bit too mainstream love interest and some cheesy (not noir) songs. So, except for the unglamourous cast and the lacklustre direction, the movie is a solid noir.
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2012
fun film noir that gives dan duryea a chance to prove he's more than just a stock villain. coulda used a stronger female lead perhaps but includes, as someone wrote on imdb: 'every noir cliche from nightclubs to death row!'
April 25, 2012
a classic whodunit. i'm glad it wasn't peter lorre.
½ December 2, 2011
Not bad but there was something missing in the story. It is however, a good example of Noir.
November 1, 2011
note: available at long branch...
½ August 18, 2011
Excellent film noir! When Martin's (Duryea) wife (Dowling) is murdered, instantly an innocent man (Phillips) is accused, and is sentenced to be hung. His wife Cathy (Vincent) is determined to find the real killer and ends up teaming with Martin. The main suspects: a crazy cop (Crawford) and a mysterious nightclub owner (Lorre). "Black Angel" looked interesting enough to me, considering how much I love film noir and how few there are that are really good. This is one of the great ones. Duryea, Crawford, and Lorre are all huge parts in noir, considering 3/4 of their filmography consists of the genre. Though this one is very overlooked, it's a highlight. Cornel Woolrich wrote the book this movie was based on, which is good: he was the start for many of the good crime thrillers, like "This Gun for Hire" and "The Ministry of Fear". He himself didn't like this adaption, which is shocking. This is a fun, dark movie that has many perks. Rarely do you get to see a full-on murder mystery, but here it is. You are guessing the entire time who the real killer is, and the twists and turns throughout make this film sensational. Duryea does a great job here. Back in the day, he was being advertised as tough in this movie, when really he is not. This is actually pretty soft and not even close to his portrayal of the villain in "Scarlet Street", but it's still not Liberace. This is the perfect role for him and brings out all of his strengths, causing it to be not only one of his best toughie roles, but one of his best parts altogether. June Vincent is certainly unknown and this is really her only movie worth noting. It's a shame her career didn't really take off, because she is surprisingly good here, not exactly being a femme fatale, but looking good no matter what. She does a great job. "Black Angel" is almost the perfect murder mystery, and any people who are starting to like film noir should check this one out.
½ July 23, 2011
Are you ready... for a movie that MAKES NO SENSE?!
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2011
"black angel" has all the quinteseential elements of classic noir epitomized concisedly in 80 mins: the sap, the femme fatale, the good girl who fails to redeem the sap, of course, the magnitude of darkness within the grain of human psyche. it's one of those apolitical noir works, which shuns from social issues and concentrates upon individual developments instead. (in other words, whatever evil out there is your doing, nothing to do with society or the government). as a matter of fact, the term film noir was invented by french critic nino frank, but people who made noir then wasn't even aware there's a term called noir. people in that time used the other word instead: CRIME-THRILLER. yes, "black angel" is a crime-thriller, which involves some process of detective work: seeking the real killer. as i mentioned in my review on "element of crime", what distinguishes american hard-boiled detective novels (inspiration for film noir) from any continental european detective fictions is the fact the detective is not anyhow excellent by intelligence but his unflinching immersion into the's another point, what makes noir transcend any of those dry "whodunit" games of logics is its analytical but stylish exposure of the dark grains within human psyche. basically, there're three basic attributes of noir: "institutional corruption," "sexual or criminal transgression" and "inescapable fatalism".."black angel" surely includes the last two.

a lovelorn songwriter gets smitten because his singer-wife ruthless deserts him, and she even rejects to grant him a chance for the sight of her. thus this masochistic man who lives another day simply for the sake of love, who dedicates his art to his feebly perishable romanticism. but strangely, the wife suddenly dieof strangulation. so who's done it? the wife's cuckold? or her employer, the nightclub owner? exactly who killed her? now the fishy spot is on the wife's lover.

but the suspect's wife simply won't give up hope, and she teems up with the songwriter in search of the real murderer. oddly, the lovelorn songwriter, again, falls in love with the wife of the suspect, who was cheating with his late wife. the term to describe this noir sympton is ROMANCE WITHOUT LOVE. the man just incessantly falls head over heels over the wrong woman, woman who doesn't put his interests into the priority of her concerns, woman who is slavish prey of another man but dominatrix queen who holds the power to his well-beings, woman who seems just pre-programed to hurt him, devastate him and tear his sense of sanity apart, woman who just wants to use him: his late wife uses him to promote her singing career and have him write songs for her; the wife of the suspect just wants his help to rescue her husband (she's also using him, but in a comparatively kinder, and more gracious manner) he just doomed by love? is this the mischief of fate? or he just sastisfies his appetite for self-ruin by the choices of his love interests? perhaps all, i guess.

the truth is the real killer is himself. hearbroken as him, he overtly indulges himself in binge drinkings, just day after day, he carries his life in booze, rottten within the mournings of an unrequited love. but this time, the alcohol emancipates the demon within him, and he comes to the wife's chamber and strangles her in a blind rage once again she mercilessly humuliates his self-esteem. in the end, the sap is a helpless romantic hero, who volunteers to turn himself in to the policeman just to save another woman's husband, his rival of love, as if he's announcing that "if i cannot quit this painful thing called love, let me fucking die on the electric chair"!!!

it's petinent, a terse archetype which appropriately exemplifies the morbid aspects of human unconscious. that's the reason i adore classic movies, old film noir. it has great effective narrative style without overtly intellectualized complication like any of european artsy movies which sometimes disguise pointless non-sense as profound art. but on the other hand, noir isn't in lack of depth as well, yes, it was made in hollywood, so what? it ain't shallow, and it just favors to tell a philosphical story in a more democratic, tangible way, available for everyone!

(ps) it may sound grim, but what makes me understand it so well is because i actually identity with the protagonist. i don't write or analyze things i don't feel personally related. i guess that makes me seem kind of morbid as well.
May 21, 2011
Interesting little B-picture features Dan Duryea as a drunken musician who learns that his no-good blackmailing wife has been murdered - he teams up with the wife of the man sent to death row for the crime, who is convinced that shady nightclub owner Lorre had something to do with it. Some interesting camerawork and visual effects make this modest attempt at a noir worth the effort, though the final revelation of the killer's identity is something of a howler - you may find it hard to buy. Broderick Crawford shows up as a no-nonsense cop.
March 18, 2011
Just ok Noir (but still passable) about a woman trying to find the person who killed the dame her husband is on death row for. She partners up with the dame's ex-husband and centers on a seedy night club owner (yes, Peter Lorre) and decide the only way to get into his world by teaming up as an entertainment act :) Not entirely well written, some clunky lead acting by the leads (which is why you don't hear the names of Dan Duryea and June Vincent much) and some clumsy red herrings lead to an alright, but ultimately unsatisfying movie.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2010
A strange, yet intriguing story of two people trying to prove someone's innocence. I liked it.
½ May 7, 2010
Not one of the best, but not bad. Dan Duryea and June Vincent aren't that exciting in it, and Peter Lorre is not used to his fullest potential. But it's got some style, a really unusual twist, and it's certainly watchable. The songs aren't all that memorable, but they're not offensively bad or anything. Director Roy William Neill is probably better known for directing so many of the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes films (although generally not the better ones).
March 23, 2010
Very good noir with some surprising turns, particularly in that Lorre isn't the heavy he appears to be at first. Like many of Cornell Woolrich's stories, our old friend the unreliable protagonist pays a visit, resulting in the downbeat twist ending.
½ December 24, 2009
This one deserves more credit. It's classic noir with a twist.
½ November 16, 2009
Plot was too contrived for my liking. Nice atmosphere and some cool photography make it worthwhile. Oh, and Peter Lorre.
Super Reviewer
½ October 18, 2009
Slick noir with good performances from Duryea and Lorre. The ending feels a bit rushed but otherwise its a compact little thriller.
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