- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Under-appreciated film noir
- Julie L
I like this film a lot; the direction, cast and camera work is top notch. The basic story is good even if the final screenplay seems to have holes in it (The Big Sleep was another film with a similar type of problem). Despite this, the story nicely demonstrates two essential noir themes: the unfairness of life and how people cannot help wanting the thing that will lead to their doom. Linda Darnell has a real hold on Dana Andrews and the other male characters, and yet, she has literally nothing to recommend her, but her looks. She's unaffectionate, unkind, and frankly boring, whereas Alice Faye's character is intelligent, creative and "girl next door" pretty. It seems so unfair, and yet all of the characters, even prim sister Clara in her past, are drawn to the sexy, dangerous things in life. As an aside: I'm trying to understand the backstory about actress, Alice Faye, leaving 20th Century Fox over this film. I don't think Fallen Angel shortchanges her as much as people say, in fact, I found myself moved by her performance in the last half of the film.
It was surprising that the babe in this movie (Stella) got the shaft instead of life's easy pass although the heiress, June, was no plain Jane like the older sister, Clara, whose gracious character out shone the other players! But wasn't the 2-timer lucky to end up the husband & object of the shapely, cute, & wealthy June's adoration even if he did manage to deduce Stella's true killer? Ladies of the world, good night!
stella wants a fella
- don letta
It's obvious that Zanuck felt the heat Darnell generated after the first takes. From then on, it was so long Alice.It's also obvious what scenes were added that enhanced Darnell's screen time. Scene one was probably added later...a dame walking into a caf, dressed to the nines... and that hat!... not exactly a waitress in 1945. All the other scenes at the back stoop with Darnell in high end dresses, didn't add up either. Here was a gal that wanted a man to give her a ring and a home... the glamorous wardrobe had to come later, when they began to beef up her role. She looked great, too, but I found each of these scenes to be added after the fact... she didn't even have a cheap watch.Alice's role was diminished as Linda's was expanded, leaving the audience to fill in the blanks. Proving a negative is difficult, but some important scenes are missing, that would have explained why a lovely and wealthy woman would find Andrews so appealing. And why Revere's caution was so quickly reversed in San Francisco... after a wedding!!!Had they cut one of the repetitive scenes with Bickford, and a few of night-time goodbyes with Darnell, and included a couple of the necessary ones with Faye, it might have resulted in a less than furious Alice, a better film, and a few more years of appreciating Alice Faye on the screen... and as for dubbing the main theme song with Dick Hayme's voice over, I go with Zanuck... Stella liked MEN.
- kevin sellers
Known primarily as the movie that caused Alice Faye to reject Hollywood (more about that later), this is actually a quite good noir. It certainly has all the classic elements of the genre. The direction from Otto Preminger, a master of the form, is not only well paced, but also brutal and poetic in tone (thinking of the two great scenes of Charles Bickford's sadistic cop beating up Bruce Cabot's hapless suspect, and Faye and Dana Andrews in a hotel room bed as night yields to morning in San Francisco.) The cinematography by Joseph La Shelle and the music from David Raksin, both noir vets, are properly moody and evocative of darkness, and as previous reviewer Don Riley has noted, the performances, especially from a great supporting cast, notably Bickford, Percy Kilbride, John Carradine, and Anne Revere, are excellent. Which brings us to Harry Kleiner's screenplay. While certainly deserving credit for creating vivid, indelible characters, there are too many points of incredulity surrounding Dana Andrews' loser/ drifter. You simply don't buy it that he would have a friend in the NYC DA's office that he could conveniently call up at the last minute to solve the not very compelling mystery of who offed Linda Darnell's selfish, materialistic waitress, Stella (another of Kleiner's good characterizations, well performed by this dark haired beauty) And you also don't believe that Andrews would be dumb enough to ditch the woman he's married, and intends to fleece, on their wedding night, thus arousing undue suspicion. For these story lapses let's give this film a B plus 'stead of an A minus. P.S. Concerning Faye's snit at having her part cut in favor of Darnell, I have to say that I agree with Darryl Zanuck's decision. Put simply, Darnell IS noir and Faye is not. And last I looked this movie was a noir, not a musical. (If anything, I think Stella was killed too soon. Coulda used one more scene of her and Andrews.)
Good Movie ending Is A Little Less !
- DON RILEY
I liked everything about this film except how it finally ends (although in hindsight it does add up). But I still feel it was well worth watching. Linda Darnell is "Marilyn Monroe" like hot. Also the use of the camera close ups, dimly lit Noir impressions, the story telling is all excellent. The casting is also very fine. I liked it. Actually while watching it I felt it was as engrossing as some of my own personal noir classics like "The Killing" and "Asphalt Jungle". But in its sum total it is less but worthwhile. 3 1/2 Stars.
Eric, Stella - and June?
- Raymond Banacki
It's a very dark and a very twisted tale from the one and only Otto Preminger. And Mr. Preminger got some amazingly effective performances from his principal players and his supporting cast. On film, Mr. Preminger's "bleakness" was genuinely one-of-a-kind - and unforgettable, too.
I love the chemistry between Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell. This one is worth watching just to see Dana Andrews plant an exceptionally long kiss on Linda Darnell. Long for 1945 movies!
great hidden gem
- don smith
never heard of it but glad i saw it. very complex ahead of its time story with an intricate complex plot that all comes together near the end. great social commentary about how hard life can be for some people and what they do to overcome their hard knocks...there is a magical introspective into the human soul in this one... cant say how much i enjoyed this movie top 10 film noir not number 74.............................................
- Dashiell B.
A good-looking film noir from Preminger. Andrews tries to seduce Darnell's waitress with Faye's money, but becomes a suspect after her murder. Slow-paced story falters at times & Carradine's character isn't nessicary, still engaging murder mystery. A good film to watch from time-to-time. I give it a 3.5/5.
Limbs From Another Tree
- Henry Hoffman
In the first half, the characters seemed pieced together, as if they were limbs hanging from another tree. Perhaps, the back-and-forth seemingly arbitrary flux of deleting one of Alice Faye's prime cuts & interpolating a fresh draft for Linda Darnell contributed to the uneasiness in the narrative. Further, Dana Andrews, usually an actor who effectively "backed-off" moments in a scene, seemed uncomfortable w/ his wanderer's point-blank self-importances. But (then) in the second half, complications grew organically & reached a creative apogee w/ Alice Faye's reverie about avoiding the ruin of a fallen angel & reaching heaven w/ another devoted partner. The interplay among the "suspects" as to who did it was all the more wonderful for being so casual, so that it could be analyzed from different angles: the revelation of Charles Bickford as a sullied justice figure turning sour was fairly amazing, for both the actor & for us. Once more, TCM excels as the one true respository of film history alive in plain sight.
A Film Noir Gem
- ela glen
This was a great treat. It's now one of my fav film noir movies. Altho the bio says Alice Faye wasn't happy w/the final cut, I enjoyed seeing her in a nonmusical role. and Dana Andrews was as good as ever.
Under-rated Film Noir
This recently became available on DVD and it remains a truly dark and pessimistic film noir - perhaps one of Preminger's darkest. Andrews' character is so unlikeable, even to the bitter end when we redeems himself. Bickford is brilliant at disguising his uglier side. Some great camera work as well from one of the great Noir directors. Worth seeing.