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Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

Director: Otto Preminger, Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell

Cast: Otto Preminger, Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell

Otto Preminger directed this stylish film noir exercise, intended as a follow-up to his surprise hit Laura. Kicked off a bus traveling cross-country for not being able to come up with the fare, down-and-out press agent Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) ends up in Walton, a small coastal town in California. Stanton fast-talks Joe Ellis (Olin


Otto Preminger directed this stylish film noir exercise, intended as a follow-up to his surprise hit Laura. Kicked off a bus traveling cross-country for not being able to come up with the fare, down-and-out press agent Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) ends up in Walton, a small coastal town in California. Stanton fast-talks Joe Ellis (Olin Howland) into giving him a place to stay for the night in exchange for promoting Professor Madley (John Carradine), a "mentalist" whose show Ellis manages. While in Walton, Stanton makes the acquaintance of June Mills (Alice Faye), a wealthy but reclusive young woman, and has his eye on Stella (Linda Darnell), a good-looking waitress working at the local diner. Thanks to Madley, Stanton learns a few things about June, and when Ellis and the professor pull up stakes after a successful engagement, Stanton opts to stay behind, hoping to win Stella's heart. Gold digger Stella makes it known that she has no interest in Stanton unless he comes into a lot of money, but June has made her interest in Stanton quite clear. Stanton hatches a plan: he'll marry June, take her money, divorce her, and then take up with Stella. Stanton and June do in fact marry, but just as he's about to give her the brush-off, Stella turns up dead. Mark Judd (Charles Bickford), a retired cop-turned-detective, is investigating the murder, and while the initial suspect is Dave Atkins (Bruce Cabot), Stella's ne'er-do-well ex-boyfriend, Judd's focus eventually falls on Stanton. Stanton flees Walton for San Francisco, with ever-loyal June at his side; he quickly abandons her after taking her money, but he returns to her side when word reaches him that June has been charged with Stella's murder. Fallen Angel marked a dramatic change of pace for Alice Faye; however, she was very unhappy with how Preminger edited her performance, convinced that much of her best work ended up on the cutting-room floor. Faye was so angry that she quit the movie business altogether and didn't appear in another film until State Fair in 1962.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Fallen Angel, Otto Preminger's post-Laura excursion into noir, is nowhere near as successful as the earlier classic, but it's a decent enough little film. Certainly it boasts some very fine Joseph LaShelle cinematography that is filled with all the light, shadows, and angles that any noir flick should have. Indeed, often LaShelle's work is the most engrossing thing to be found on the screen. This isn't meant to slight the talents of Angel's star trio. Dana Andrews, Alice Faye, and Linda Darnell all turn in performances that are more than respectable; at the same time, they are all less than perfect. Darnell probably comes out best, helped by the fact that all she's required to do is smolder and be sullen. But Andrews can't find the right combination of charm and toughness that the role requires. He's charming at times, and certainly tough, but the former never quite counteracts the latter; as a result, the audience can neither understand why Faye falls for him nor believe that she would stick with him -- and this fatally undermines Angel's effectiveness. For her part, Faye doesn't dig deeply enough into her character (which fact may support her contention that her best scenes were deleted), and she can't find a way to credibly convey to the audience either the desire that lays buried inside her or the overwhelming relief she finds when Andrews unlocks it. Director Preminger shares in the blame for his stars' problems; although the film is directed with style and occasional flair, there are too many sequences that don't hit the mark. Even a scene that should have been a sure-fire Preminger classic -- the interrogation of Darnell's boyfriend -- misses the mark, coming across as curiously lacking in passion. Fallen Angel does have a very solid supporting cast, with expert work from Anne Revere, Charles Bickford, and, in a small but memorable turn, John Carradine. It's more than watchable, but it could have been so much more.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:

Special Features

Commentary; Still photo gallery; Theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
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 Prof. Madley
Percy Kilbride Pop
Olin Howland Joe Ellis
Hal Taliaferro Johnson
Mira McKinney Mrs. Judd
Gus Glassmire Hotel Clerk
Jimmy Conlin Hotel Clerk
Leila McIntyre Bank Clerk
Garry Owen Waiter
Horace Murphy Sheriff
Martha Wentworth Maid
Paul Palmer Detective
Paul E. Burns Detective
Herbert Ashley Plainclothesman
Chick Collins Bus Driver
William Haade Bus Driver
Dorothy Adams Woman
Harry Strang Policeman
Max Wagner Bartender
Dave Morris Reporter
Matthew "Stymie" Beard Shoe Shine Boy
John Farrell MacDonald Bank Guard
Betty Boyd Bank Clerk
Wally Wales Johnson

Technical Credits
Otto Preminger Director,Producer
Bonnie Cashin Costumes/Costume Designer
Bernard Freericks Sound/Sound Designer
Leland Fuller Art Director
Kermit Goell Songwriter
Helen Hansard Set Decoration/Design
Harry Kleiner Screenwriter
Joseph La Shelle Cinematographer
Harry M. Leonard Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Emil Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Nye Makeup
David Raksin Score Composer,Songwriter
Harry Reynolds Editor
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Lyle Wheeler Art Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Fallen Angel
1. Main Titles / Last Stop [:14]
2. Broke [5:59]
3. Message of Hope [1:00]
4. Troubles Spirits [2:33]
5. Fortune Telling [2:44]
6. A Ring and a Home [:48]
7. Scared of Life [6:16]
8. Beautiful Dream [1:38]
9. Big City [3:58]
10. Wedding Night [4:01]
11. Special Investigator [2:36]
12. Endless Possibilities [4:38]
13. Broken Promises [5:06]
14. Fall from Grace [2:11]
15. Valuable Property [4:57]
16. Back in Town [4:10]

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