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Angel on My Shoulder

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Overview

In this comedy, Paul Muni plays a recently murdered gangster who finds himself roasting in Hell. Muni can't believe that he's in for All Eternity and keeps trying to "bust out," which brings him to the attention of the Head Man (Claude Rains), who calls himself Nick. Nick strikes a bargain with Muni: There's a troublesome honest judge on Earth who's been shipping too many souls to Hell; if Muni will take over the judge's body and begin performing bad deeds, Nick will set him free. Muni readily agrees, eager to ...
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Overview

In this comedy, Paul Muni plays a recently murdered gangster who finds himself roasting in Hell. Muni can't believe that he's in for All Eternity and keeps trying to "bust out," which brings him to the attention of the Head Man (Claude Rains), who calls himself Nick. Nick strikes a bargain with Muni: There's a troublesome honest judge on Earth who's been shipping too many souls to Hell; if Muni will take over the judge's body and begin performing bad deeds, Nick will set him free. Muni readily agrees, eager to settle the score with the ex-partner (Hardie Albright) who bumped him off. Once he "becomes" the judge, however, Muni discovers that he is utterly incapable of performing any misdeeds--and when he falls in love with the judge's fiancee (Anne Baxter), Muni becomes determined to wriggle out of his agreement. Angel on My Shoulder is based on a story by Harry Segall, whose previous play Heaven Can Wait was filmed as Here Comes Mr. Jordan, also with Claude Rains.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The flip side of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Angel on My Shoulder is an amusing and engaging fantasy comedy that suffers a bit from its structural similarities to the earlier "repossessed body" picture. The gimmick in Angel, of course, is that it is the Devil that is offering a soul a second chance at life, and for nefarious reasons; but the basic throughline is much the same as in the Jordan. Still, Angel has its own style of humor, with its fish-out-of-water premise given a few nice twists, and the screenplay in general bubbling along with snappy dialogue and nifty little turns. Angel works, however, because of it gives its two male leads the chance to shine. Paul Muni over-the-top performance is a load of fun, made the more so when one realizes that it's over the top in a remarkably controlled way. This fine actor knows that there are ways to underplay one's overplaying, and he demonstrates this time and again throughout. As the Devil, Claude Rains makes "sinister" seem like a heavenly compliment. He rages, he thrashes, he insinuates, he cajoles, and it's all as appealing as one might wish. Add in Anne Baxter, doing quite well with a "reactive' part, and some swiftly paced direction by Archie Mayo and the result is a spiffy way to pass some time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/23/1999
  • UPC: 025493070224
  • Original Release: 1946
  • Rating:

  • Source: Passport
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Black & White / Dolby 5.1
  • Sound: Dolby Digital
  • Time: 1:55:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 71,211

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Paul Muni Eddie Kagle, Judge Parker
Murray Alper Jim, Jim (uncredited)
Anne Baxter Barbara Foster
Claude Rains Nick, Nick/the Devil, The Devil
Joan Blair Brazen girl, Brazen girl in Hell (uncredited)
Onslow Stevens Dr. Matt Higgins
George Cleveland Albert
Chester Clute Kramer, Kramer (uncredited)
Erskine Sanford Minister
Marion Martin Mrs. Bentley
Hardie Albright Smiley Williams
James Flavin Bellamy
Sol (Saul) Gorss Gangster, Gangster (uncredited)
Jonathan Hale Chairman, Chairman (uncredited)
Kurt Katch Warden, Warden (uncredited)
Edward Keane Prison Yard Captain, Prison Yard Captain (uncredited)
Maurice Cass Lucius (uncredited), Lucius
Mike Lally Gangster, Gangster (uncredited)
Fritz Leiber Scientist, Scientist (uncredited)
Jimmie Dundee Gangster (uncredited),
George Meeker Mr. Bentley, Mr. Bentley (uncredited)
Joel Friedkin Malvola (uncredited), Malvola
Sarah Padden Agatha, Minister's Wife, Agatha, Minister's Wife (uncredited)
Noble Johnson Trustee (uncredited), Trustee
Addison Richards Big Harry, Big Harry (uncredited)
Lee Shumway Bailiff, Bailiff (uncredited)
Duke Taylor Gangster, Gangster (uncredited)
Ben Welden Shaggsy, Shaggsy (uncredited)
Russ Whiteman Intern, Intern (uncredited)
Archie Twitchell Police sergeant (uncredited), Police sergeant
Technical Credits
Archie Mayo Director
Howard A. Anderson Special Effects
George Arthur Editor
Edward Boyle Set Decoration/Design
Al Clark Editor
Asa Boyd Clark Editor
Maria P. Donovan Costumes/Costume Designer
Bernard Herzbrun Art Director
Roland Kibbee Screenwriter
Robert Martien Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry Redmond Special Effects
Charles R. Rogers Producer
Harry Segall Screenwriter
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer
James Van Trees Cinematographer
Frank Webster Sound/Sound Designer
Ern Westmore Makeup
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Going Down [3:17]
2. The Devil [4:58]
3. Breaking Out [6:27]
4. The Judge [5:38]
5. Denby's Boys [18:28]
6. The Speach [6:19]
7. The Drink [3:52]
8. Rosie [2:30]
9. Smiley [5:30]
10. Our House [4:47]
11. Smiley's End [2:29]
12. Have A Heart [22:26]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Trailers
      Story of Mankind
      Rosemary's Baby
      The Omen
      Bedazzled
      Exorcist
      Oh God! You Devil
      Dr. Faustus
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Classic for All Generations

    The popularity of ''Angel on My Shoulder'' spans seven decades. This 1946 classic film stars Paul Muni, Claude Rains, and Anne Baxter. Originally written by Harry Segall, it is the reverse telling of his earlier work, the stage play ''Heaven Can Wait'', (which was adapted for the screen as ''Here Comes Mr. Jordan'' and remade in 1978 by Warren Beatty). Whereas ''Heaven Can Wait'' is the story of a man who’s prematurely sent to Heaven, ''Angel'' tells the tale of a mobster, Eddie Kagle, who is sent to Hell after he's gunned down by his best friend. The Devil gives him an opportunity to spend a few days back on Earth to seek revenge. While there, Eddie manages to redeem himself... much to the Devil’s chagrin. It's a clever re-telling of Faust. Both ''Here Comes Mr. Jordan'' and ''Angel on My Shoulder'' not only spoke to the era in which they were made, but also became classics in their own right. Despite the fact that ''Angel'' was produced during the tail end of World War II, it continues to be enjoyed by audiences year after year. Its heartwarming comedy and central theme of redemption have stood the test of time. Paul Muni plays the lead with much charm, while Claude Rains is a debonaire Devil. There's a few loose ends in the story's structure and non-organic characters whose only purpose is to serve a utility function. However, in the end the overall film delivers an entertaining viewing... and afterall, isn't that the bottom line? Current rumor has it that a re-make is in the works with a major actor to play the lead. I personally can't wait to see the update.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews