Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tonight's Movie: Fallen Angel (1945)

One year after making the classic film noir LAURA, producer-director Otto Preminger, actor Dana Andrews, and composer David Raksin reunited for another murder mystery, FALLEN ANGEL.

This time around Andrews traded his hardboiled detective character for a hardboiled con man who wanders into a small town and immediately finds himself caught between good girl Alice Faye and bad girl Linda Darnell.

Though not a classic on the same scale as the lushly romantic, stylish LAURA, the film is visually arresting and packs a great deal of entertainment value into its 97 minutes. The superb supporting cast includes Charles Bickford, John Carradine, Anne Revere, and Percy Kilbride. It's amazing to realize that the sultry Darnell was only 22 the year this film was released.

Many scenes in the film were filmed on location in Orange, California. The church where Alice Faye plays the organ was a Baptist church built in 1891; the building today houses a restaurant, PJ's Abbey. You can also spot Watson's drugstore. The traffic circle at the intersection of Chapman and Glassell can also be seen briefly in the background.

FALLEN ANGEL is available in a beautiful black and white presentation on DVD as No. 14 in the Fox Film Noir series. The DVD includes a trailer, photo galleries, and a commentary track by film noir historian Eddie Muller with Dana Andrews' daughter, Susan.


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