Fallen Angel Reviews
The rest of the cast is good to excellent also. Charles Bickford is superb in a somewhat formulaic role. Dana Andrews gives a performance he gave often but that is good. Ann Revere is properly menacing as Faye's older sister who doesn't approve of what she's doing.
Linda Darnell is good but something isn't right about her. Maybe I prefer seeing her in a more favorable light especially The Mark of Zorro (1940). Typical to cast two leading ladies who've worked with Fox's leading man Tyrone Power. She was such a charming, beautiful actress, it's hard to think of her as a bad girl. And, essentially, that's what she plays here. Who wants to think of her as calculating and cold-blooded? The real star of "Fallen Angel" is its atmosphere. We have the usual drifter, a somewhat incongruous big-city cop, and the usual smalltime denizens in the small town where it takes place. A mood of doom hangs over this town and we sense that from the very beginning.
The cinematography is first-rate. The script is a little predictable but very literate.
It's not "Laura" and, though the public at the time may have expected it to be, I don't. But it falls short of the top rung of noir. And yet -- It will haunt anyone who sees it. It's not easy to shake off.
(1945) Fallen Angel
DRAMA/ THRILLER/ MYSTERY
Oddball of a movie from director Otto Preminger, which starts out as a drama when unknown person, Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) enters into a coffee joint and becomes infatuated to a floozy(a girl who enjoys men spending money on her) who also steals cash from the joint she works in. Stanton then finds a wealthy heiress June Mills (Alice Faye) he's not really in love with, and marries her just so he could provide this other hussy all the things he's promised her and that includes a nice house. The hussy then gets murdered with fingers pointing to him, putting him into a complicated situation with his intolerant wife standing by his side.
Second film director Preminger did with Dana Andrews after the critical and financial success of "Laura" in 1944, both films have similar rings with each other by use of 'obsession' but unidentical tones, at least the last hour of Fallen Angel is similar. The tone of the film appears to be a drama at first, when at the beginning, showcases the protagonist as a not so very nice fella whose self assured, self-centered and unlikably controlling, then the film switched to a whodunnit, leaving no clues whatsoever turning the feel from thriller to a mystery. In "Laura", the protagonist becomes obsessed, after staring at a picture of the lady whose supposed to be dead on a wall, until suddenly appears acting like nothing ever happened. One thing to point out is that "Fallen Angel" never loses focus even when the film radically switches to different stages from drama to thriller/ mystery, and that some viewers may have already know whose the killer is even before the film is over!
3 out of 4
As the down-on-his-luck grifter, Dana Andrews is perfectly cast. He has the right mixture of toughness and vulnerability that makes his character believable and sympathetic. Linda Darnell as the quintessential film noir femme fatale, has one of the best entrances in film history. Her Stella is a slut's slut, who has dreams of marriage and a home with a white picket fence. Alice Faye as June, the rich small-town spinster that Andrews's character tricks into marriage turns in a decent and sensitive performance in a rare dramatic role. Why she thought this film was reason to walk out on her studio contract is one for the ages.
A well crafted, well acted film that deserves a better reputation than it currently has.