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Fallen Angel

Alice Faye , Dana Andrews , Otto Preminger    Unrated   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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June Mills (Alice Faye) and her sister Clara live a quiet life in a small coastal town until Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews), a smooth-talking con man, comes into their lives. He seems to fall hard for June but Clara believes he’s only interested in the family fortune. Meanwhile, sultry waitress Stella (Linda Darnell) catches Stanton's fancy and thinks he might be her ticket out of town. The local cop (Charles Bickford) knows more than he's telling about his fellow citizens and their tangled relationships which draw even tighter after a shocking murder.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation presents "FALLEN ANGEL" (5 December 1945) (98 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews), a penniless drifter, falls in love with Stella (Linda Darnell), who works in a small-town coffee shop --- She refuses to marry him because of his poor financial condition --- Desperate for money, Eric marries a wealthy local spinster (Alice Faye), who he plans to divorce --- His plans go awry when someone ends up dead and he's the prime suspect --- The film's shadowy world is just right --- As with all Preminger films, the women look fantastic.

This noir is star studded. It not only features Andrews, Darnell and Faye, but spectacular performances by Charles Bickford, Anne Revere and Bruce Cabot.

Otto Preminger's follow-up to Laura (1944) - he made one further noir thrillers with Dana Andrews: Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950).

Under the production staff of:
Otto Preminger [Director/Producer]
Harry Kleiner [screenplay]
Marty Holland [novel]
David Raksin [Original Music]
Joseph LaShelle [Cinematographer]
Harry Reynolds [Film Editor]

BIOS:
1. Otto Ludwig Preminger [Director]
Date of Birth: 5 December 1905 - Wiznitz, Bukovina, Austria-Hungary (now Wyschnyzja, Ukraine))
Date of Death: 23 April 1986 - New York City, New York

the cast includes:
Alice Faye - June Mills
Dana Andrews - Eric Stanton
Linda Darnell - Stella
Charles Bickford - Mark Judd
Anne Revere - Clara Mills
Bruce Cabot - Dave Atkins
John Carradine - Professor Madley
Percy Kilbride - Pop

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 98 min on DVD ~ 20th Century Fox ~ (03/07/2006)
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  52 reviews
100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Love alone can make the fallen angel rise." Dec 14 2005
By Dave - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
When Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) arrives in a small town after getting kicked off the bus (not enough money), he heads for the local diner, "Pop's Eats". Course, it ain't the food that draws customers to this joint. It's Stella (Linda Darnell), one of the most beautiful women you've ever laid your eyes on. She hates working there and longs for an escape, but it takes money. "Pop" (Percy Kilbride, yes "Pa Kettle" was in a film noir!) obviously can't supply her with the kind of dough she's after, so she cruelly strings along three "suckers," Eric (Dana Andrews), Dave Atkins (Bruce Cabot), and Mark Judd (Charles Bickford). She easily seduces each one, but waits to see which one can provide her with the most money.

Eric is wild about her, so much that he marries June Mills (Alice Faye) a wealthy woman, just so he can get the money Stella craves. But when he tells Stella about the marriage, she angrilly refuses to see him again, not wanting to "get involved with a married man". What, all of a sudden this tramp has morals?!? Anyway, later that night she's murdered, and of course Eric is the prime suspect of the police. Unfortunately, the chief police investigator of the case is Mark Judd (Charles Bickford), who also loved Stella and who is now determined to catch her killer. During the investigation, June finds out the truth about why Eric married her, but she still loves him deeply and continues to defend him.

Knowing that he doesn't stand a chance with the police, Eric flees the town with June and tries to figure out what to do. June tries again and again to convince Eric to talk to the police, because after all why should an innocent man be worried about talking to the police. When the cops spot June they pick her up for questioning. Finally, Eric figures out who the real killer is and promptly tells the police everything he knows, thus clearing himself and perhaps redeeming himself for his past crimes. Will June be able to forgive Eric and stay with him, and will Eric stop being a low-down, dirty cad and learn to love good-hearted June? Watch and find out!

At last, Otto Preminger's film noir classic from 1945 is officially available in the United States! Although released just one year after Preminger's classic "Laura," this classic isn't nearly as well-known as it deserves to be. Dana Andrews plays a selfish cad to perfection, while Linda Darnell commands atention with her stunning beauty and seductive looks. Of course, Alice Faye ends up looking better than Linda because Alice plays a girl with a heart of gold. And then there's the outstanding supporting cast: Charles Bickford, Anne Revere, Bruce Cabot, John Carradine, and Percy Kilbride. Sharp dialogue, wonderful cinematography, great acting, and clever plot twists make this a definite must for any film noir fanatic's collection!
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fox be praised! March 21 2006
By M. Dog - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of the great benefits of the "Fox Noir" series, of which this film is a standout, is the remastering/release of the classic 1940's work of the great Otto Preminger. All the four Preminger titles in this series demonstrate what a concise, fluid director he was, easily managing crowd scenes as well as dramatic close-ups with his supple, effortless camera. Also, Preminger had a true talent for zeroing in on an actor, instantly revealing what made them different or unique and allowing them to play up their strengths. Under Preminger's care the star of this film, Dana Andrews, was allowed to fully flower. There was a very moving quality in Andrews, particularly when playing a heel as he does in this one, which always suggested that he had just enough soul and intelligence to dislike himself. This is why he was one of the great noir actors: without a lot of fuss, he could convey a deeply felt need to be a better man than was possible. He was, in short, a very graceful and subtle tough guy.

Briefly told, the theme of this film is sexual obsession. Every principal male player in the film desperately wants Stella, a hash-slinger in a local café, played by the all-too-soon gone Linda Darnell. This, of course, leads to men behaving very badly.

This clearly was a favorite theme of Preminger's, and he never had a better carnal female than Darnell as an object of desire (actually, the emotion all men in the film feel for Darnell transcends desire into the realm of critical need). Darnell is absolutely great and her appeal has held up very well over the 70 intervening years.

The other thing that makes these Fox Noir DVD's so good is the expert commentary that accompanies these discs in the Special Features sections. I know . . .sometimes these commentary tracks can be very hit or miss, but the folks at Fox seemed to take some care in their selection of experts, and I have enjoyed them all. The commentary track for this one is supplied by Noir historian, Eddie Muller, and I found his voiceover very, very good. In fact, things I might say in praise of this film are covered much better by Mr. Muller, so I will let you listen to him for yourself when you buy the DVD. Mr. Muller is a real treasure trove of interesting trivia and worthwhile insights.

This disc also has Dana Andrews' daughter, Susan Andrews, giving commentary. I have to admit with other DVD movies, I have been often disappointed by commentary from family members of famous stars. Not here. Susan Andrews comes across with an easy warmth and depth that really fleshed out her father, Dana Andrews, as both an actor and a man. I found myself hanging on the stories she told, remembering her father.

Lastly, with regard to the digital remastering, Fox has done it right. These classic Noirs never looked better.

Excellent all the way. --Mykal Banta
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!!! The best of the preminger/andrews films!! Jan. 21 2006
By The Queen of Noirs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Oh yay. The Queen is absolutely THRILLED to see that Fallen Angel will finally be released on DVD in March of this year. I have managed to lay my hands on an American DVD version after struggling with an English-style DVD for the past years. Upon re-viewing, this excellent movie stands up!

This is the third of the Dana Andrews/Otto Preminger movies in my ken, the first two being Laura (swoon) and Where the Sidewalk Ends (yawn). This is hands down the best of the three. Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) rolls into town one night after riding the bus as far as his ticket will take him. He almost immediately encounters Stella (Linda Darnell, and how!) the town sexpot. She works as a waitress and as a golddigger, dating every man in town and a few that just roll her way. But what she wants is to get married and settle down. I don't think she fully understands what it would mean to be married and settle down but that's what she says she wants. Eric is all Hustle and Flow before those words became trite and he makes a couple of bucks helping out a travelling clairvoyant and as an aside discovers the presence of a couple of wealthy sisters who can be and have been taken for a ride! So Eric hatches a scheme to marry the rich sister to get her money in order to marry Stella. Such audacity! Once he's married to the sister June (Played by the lovely Alice Faye) Stella wants nothing to do with HIM, because he's a married man! Oh, the frustration Eric has to endure! Stella ends up dead, a truly brutal cop investigates (be afraid! Holy cow!) and Eric takes it on the lam with his persistent wifey along for the ride. Excellent, excellent noir. Dana Andrews actually acts in this movie, as opposed to standing around looking glum (as in Laura and Where the Sidewalk Ends). This is Dana's best since The Ox-bow Incident.

The movie looks absolutely fabulous. Noir cinematography never looked better, even in the daylight scenes. The dialogue is great ("We were friends in the good old days" "How old?" "Old enough to be good"), the acting, especially Dana and Linda Darnell, is top notch. Linda Darnell... you could eat her with a spoon in this movie. The quintessential Femme Fatale. And then some.

Highly recommended.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic noir but pretty heavy going Dec 17 2005
By Douglas M - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is a film which is higly respected in "noir" cinema but like many films of the genre, it is heavy entertainment. Released in 1945 as a follow up to "Laura", it used a number of the same technicians, the director Otto Preminger and the leading man Dana Andrews.

Andrews plays a drifter who stops at a small town, falls in lust with a waitress, Linda Darnell, and marries one of the town's respected citizens, Alice Faye, for her money so he can run off with Darnell. Darnell is murdered and the remainder of the film follows the discovery of who did it. The film is claustrophobic reflecting the people and small town in which it is set. The main setpiece is a diner. Darnell, who was never better, is brunette, sexy and laconic, lounging behind the counter like a lazy cat. The superficial quality to her acting sits well on this character. On the other side of the counter, a line up of men gaze upon her lasciviously, watching her every move but hiding their eyes under their hats. You can cut the atmosphere with a knife! The juke box plays the theme song "Slowly" and the music is a toneless tease, just like Linda.

Alice Faye, blonde and subdued, is a perfect contrast, a symbol of good but with an undercurrent of frustration which helps explain her attraction to Dana Andrews and why she would marry this stranger. Much of Alice's part was cut by Darryl Zanuck to shift the emphasis to the broody Darnell. Alice was so incensed she walked out of 20th Century Fox for good, never to return. You can detect the holes in her part of the film, particularly in establishing the motivation for her relationship with Andrews, but enough remains so that we get the point. Anne Revere plays Alice's spinster sister and adds a superb vignette of an unfulfilled woman. By the way, Alice is very good too.

Probably the most impressive feature of the film is the overwhelming sense of sexual frustration, a remarkable example of how to suggest sexual desire within the confines of the censorship of the forties. Everyone is on heat, even Alice. All the males in the cast are unpleasant and charmless so the film is pretty depressing. It lacks the entertainment value of "The Big Sleep" or "Double Indemnity".

The DVD quality is first rate, as expected. The commentary is more like a friendly chat between Film Noir expert Eddie Mueller and Dana Andrew's daughter Susan - pleasant listening but lightweight in content. Mueller is completely over the top about Preminger and Andrews - they weren't THAT good! In particular, they seem to read much more into Dana Andrews who actually seems quite wooden to me.

Many of the scenes which were cut can be envisaged by production stills; for example, now I understand why when Andrews meets Faye in the church when she is playing the organ, much of the dialogue is illogical. There is reference to an earlier meeting which clearly was cut from the film, probably a scene outside the church when he was leaving town and clearly visible in the stills. No wonder Alice Faye was upset because what remains in fact does not make sense. There are 2 other scenes between Andrews and Charles Bickford involving physical violence. These two scenes, in particular, might have contributed to a more satisfactory ending. After so much atmospheric character development, the resolution of the murder is somewhat cursory.

For me, Otto Preminger was too heavy handed for this film to gain classic status and the editing has left holes in the plot, as Alice Faye said. Andrews is on record as disliking the film, feeling it was in bad taste and I know what he means.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining film noir June 8 2006
By loverofr&b2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this movie, not just for the dark film noir so excellently directed by Otto Preminger and the acting skills of Dana Andrews, Charles Bickford, Linda Darnell et all. Those are a given. This film was filled with new things galore, and I love how the DVD features a commentary by Dana Andrews daughter and Eddie Muller explaining all the nuances and little quirks to be found in the movie. This is basically a movie about a con man who falls for a fallen woman (Darnell) and attempts to get this fallen woman by seducing a prim and proper virginal woman (Alice Faye) to get the money for it. Some have ridiculed some of the premise of this movie, but one has to remember this WAS made in 1945!!!

This movie also represents another fall, one in real life, of the great Alice Faye. I'm sure the story has become well known of how she quit Twentieth Century Fox over how her scenes were cut. I just found out from the commentary that she had a scene where she sang the theme song! That should have been in the movie and the DVD, sure love to see that. For Alice was first and foremost a vocalist, she could make you feel the words of a song by her emoting and facial expressions along with her lovely lovely contralto. She was a treasure, and it's sad to know this movie, however entertaining, caused her to leave the business for so long. Although it was her first true dramatic role Alice in no way could be said to be a great actress because of this role, but I felt she held her own.

Dana Andrews is a master, and as some have said the chemistry between he and Linda Darnell's character is palpable. The feel, the interplay between the characters and the small town feel of the setting gives this movie that dark mysterious attraction of a true noir, and as the plot unfolds and reaches a surprising climax resulting in the "fallen angel" of the title, I don't see how a true film buff could not be entertained!
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