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Angel Baby
     

Angel Baby

Director: Hubert Cornfield, Paul Wendkos

Cast: George Hamilton, Mercedes McCambridge

 
Based on Jenny Angel, a novel by Elise Oaks Barber, Angel Baby is a gloves-off study of the faith-healing racket. The title character, played by Salome Jens, is a mute whose speech is ostensibly restored by Bible-thumper George Hamilton. Angel Baby is then exploited on the evangelical circuit by crooked promoter Burt Reynolds (in his feature film debut).

Overview

Based on Jenny Angel, a novel by Elise Oaks Barber, Angel Baby is a gloves-off study of the faith-healing racket. The title character, played by Salome Jens, is a mute whose speech is ostensibly restored by Bible-thumper George Hamilton. Angel Baby is then exploited on the evangelical circuit by crooked promoter Burt Reynolds (in his feature film debut). She becomes disillusioned, but her faith is restored when she apparently heals a crippled child. Any opportunity to see stage actress Salome Jens in one of her rare movie roles is always to be treasured; in this instance, Ms. Jens is backed up by an equally stellar supporting cast, including Mercedes McCambridge, Joan Blondell, and Henry Jones.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Treading some similar territory as the much better Elmer Gantry, Angel Baby can't help but pale in comparison to the slightly earlier film. However, the similarities between the two are essentially superficial, as Angel is much more concerned with a "miracle" girl and her struggle with her beliefs and how the phony world of the faux-evangelicals she encounters impacts on her. It's an interesting premise for a movie, and it's a shame that the trio of screenwriters get stuck in trite, clichéd examinations of the premise rather than delving deeper and with more originality. Paul Wendkos' direction doesn't help to clarify the action or add much depth to the story, but it does allow for some impressive performances. As the title character, Salome Jens brings a strange beauty and a quirky intensity to the part that makes her quite haunting and her performance quite powerful. Mercedes McCambridge delivers an all-out turn that practically bowls the viewer over, and even George Hamilton is in good form here. Throw in some fine support from a young and charismatic Burt Reynolds, as well as dependable Joan Blondell and Henry Jones, and the result is a film that contains a surprising amount of acting power and far too little writing power. The excellent Haskell Wexler cinematography is also a bonus.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2009
UPC:
0883316125793
Original Release:
1961
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:37:00
Sales rank:
51,837

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
George Hamilton Paul Strand
Mercedes McCambridge Sarah Strand
Joan Blondell Mollie Hays
Henry Jones Ben Hays
Burt Reynolds Hoke Adams
Salome Jens AngelBaby
Roger Clark Sam Wilcox
Dudley Remus Otis Finch
Harry Swoger Big Cripple
Barbara Biggart Farm girl
Davy Biladeau Little Boy
Hubert Cornfield Actor
Victoria Adams Ma Brooks
R.L. Armstrong The Shanty Man
Eddie Firestone Blind Man
Ted Lehmann Willis Ferguson

Technical Credits
Hubert Cornfield Director
Paul Wendkos Director
Orin Borsten Screenwriter
Stanley Campbell Makeup
Sidney Clifford Set Decoration/Design
Marjorie D. Corso Costumes/Costume Designer
Leonard Katzman Asst. Director
Betty Lane Editor
Jack A. Marta Cinematographer
Paul Mason Screenwriter
Al Overton Sound/Sound Designer
Sam Roeca Screenwriter
Kay Rose Sound Editor
Guy del Russo Makeup
Wayne Shanklin Score Composer
Al Tameli Art Director
Haskell Wexler Cinematographer
Thomas F. Woods Producer

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