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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed yes, masterpiece, maybe
There is a great deal in Fallen Angel that does not stack up. The dialogue and characterisation of the heroine does not convince us as viewers, and therefore would not be potent enough to bring about the change in the characterisation of the film's anti-hero, and there his salvation. The hard-boiled cop from New York, with the farcical interrogation technique, does not...
Published on 9 Dec 2007 by R. J. Blower

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a weak performance after Laura
This is pure film-noir formula: a stranger arrives in town, gets involved in a scam for a beautiful girl, and suddenly finds his life moving in a unexpected direction. Unfortunately, Andrews kind of plods through it without his usual charm and realistic edge. The others actors are not much better. But the underlying flaw is that the plot just doesn't work very well...
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by rob crawford


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed yes, masterpiece, maybe, 9 Dec 2007
This review is from: Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
There is a great deal in Fallen Angel that does not stack up. The dialogue and characterisation of the heroine does not convince us as viewers, and therefore would not be potent enough to bring about the change in the characterisation of the film's anti-hero, and there his salvation. The hard-boiled cop from New York, with the farcical interrogation technique, does not gell either. But even with these significant flaws, the Fallen Angel qualifies as an outstanding film noir: Dana Andrews makes more than a good fist of the role, and portrays a vulnerability that you know compels him to do bad things, and Linda Darnell, in the femme fatale role, easily draws you in, as does the main location for plot development, the tiny diner on the quayside, surrounded by fog and a sense of foreboding. The flaws of the Fallen Angel are forgiven and, once seen, the film is not forgotten. Almost a masterpiece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a weak performance after Laura, 3 Jan 2012
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
This is pure film-noir formula: a stranger arrives in town, gets involved in a scam for a beautiful girl, and suddenly finds his life moving in a unexpected direction. Unfortunately, Andrews kind of plods through it without his usual charm and realistic edge. The others actors are not much better. But the underlying flaw is that the plot just doesn't work very well. Rather than getting wrapped up in a fun yarn, I just wanted to get through it.

On the positive side, the atmospherics are very good, i.e. small town desperation and the enticing anonymity of the big nearby town, San Francisco. The viewer is also kept guessing right up until the end, which completely surprised me, both in culprit and resolution. Andrews succeeds in breathing some life into his character.

I would recommend that hardcore film noir fans rent this, but you won't want to re-view it. Casual viewers should go for the other, far better film noirs out there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be fair to Alice Faye!, 23 Mar 2011
By 
William Taylor "20CFOX fan" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
Having read some other reviews of Fallen Angel, more than one critiscizes Alice Faye's performance as shallow and not equal to that of Linda Darnell.
However in Alice's defence it must be pointed out that her performance as seen in the finished print was far short of what she had originally created. It is a well documented fact that she filmed several other scenes with Dana Andrews which according to Alice added dimension and motivation to her character. In one of these she sang the song Slowly as it played on the car radio (in the film it is heard on the juke box several times sung by Dick Haymes) in a dramatic scene ending in a row with Dana Andrews at the end of which he slapped her.

Alice had believed that Fallen Angel would initiate a new period in her screen career, with more serious roles. She had very high hopes of it, working with the star and director of 1944's Laura. However, in the editing, the emphasis of the story was shifted to bad girl Stella at the expense of June. Whether this happened at Preminger's or Zanuck's instruction is not known, but it caused a huge rift between Alice and Darryl F Zanuck. Alice, aware that her performance was no longer as effective as she wanted, is alleged to have left a preview screening of Fallen Angel at the studio in tears, never to return until 1962. In the late 1940's Fox sent many scripts to her in the hope of wooing her back - eg A Letter to three wives - but all to no avail.

So, I do ask modern viewers to bear all that in mind. Alice's characterization shows June to be a warm, romantic individual who is literally swept off her feet and it is her trusting belief in Eric which prevails in the end. She understands Eric's shortcomings but believes her love can transcend them, which it does.

It is all too easy to dismiss stars like Alice as "non" actresses but given a good director she was capable of some very good performances, as Henry King discovered (In Old Chicago and Alexander's Ragtime Band), among others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faye is a Fallen Angel but an Angel nevertheless, 23 Mar 2011
This review is from: Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
I have to agree with Mr Taylor in support of Alice Faye and Fallen Angel. It is well known that Alice left Fox because of the severe cutting to her scenes and walked out with years still remaining on her contract at $5,500 per week ! Let's get this right - Alice Faye was a huge star at Fox - Linda Darnell never was - she was a leading lady and a very capable and beautiful actress but Linda Darnell was not a cash cow to Fox as Alice had been for a decade.The mutilation of Alice's scenes so upset her at a studio preview that she got in her car and threw her dressing room keys to the gate man as she drove off the lot that she had been queen of for some 10 + years. Betty Grable had it written into her contract that she had to be photographed in colour - Alice Faye had Director approval in her contract and was the only star at Fox with this clause. Zanuck did not want to lose Alice Faye but he did want her to toe the line and stick to musicals so he probably had a direct hand in the deletion of some of her key scenes which gave a fuller interpretation to her characterisation of June Mills. Zanuck was always involved in the editing of his films and in this case he gaffed as he lost Alice Faye and therefore a great deal of income to Fox. I think that although the June Mills character is not fully flesh and blood , faye does a fairly good job of trying to make her so and the quoting from the bible in the hotel room is fantastic. I have read several books about Preminger and he was happy with Faye's performance in Fallen Angel but even Otto could not stop Zanuck tampering which is sad as Fox and the public lost a warm, tender and capable actress at only 30 years of age.
Judge Fallen Angel knowing the facts please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Then love alone can make the fallen angel rise., 10 Feb 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
Fallen Angel is directed by Otto Preminger, with cinematography by Joseph LaShelle, who also worked with Preminger on the film Laura the year before. The film stars Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell & Charles Bickford. Seen as something of a lesser entry in film noir and on Preminger's CV (he claimed to not even remembering the film when quizzed about it once), the piece is famous for being the last film Faye made as a major Hollywood actress. Disappointed at how studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck and Preminger cut her role out of the picture (they were all about Darnell), Faye left the studio the day after a preview screening, and did not make another film for 16 years.

The plot sees Andrews as press agent Eric Stanton, who down on his luck gets turfed off the bus some 150 miles from San Francisco and finds that he is in the small coastal town of Walton. Here he meets sultry waitress Stella (Darnell) and frumpy recluse June (Faye). The former he is very attracted too, so is everybody else it seems, the latter has just come into a lot of inheritance money, something else that catches Eric's eye. Pretty soon his life will be surrounded by love, infatuation, jealousy and worst of all--murder.

More a mystery whodunit than an overtly dark venture into the realm of film noir, Fallen Angel is still a tidy and atmospheric movie. One where we can never be fully sure everything is as it at first seems. Especially the three main protagonists, where Preminger, in spite of not remembering doing so, misdirects the audience about the character's make ups. This greatly aids the whodunit structure where the killer is well disguised until the end reveal. Its also nicely shot by LaShelle, where the lighting is key for scenes involving the more vixen like Darnell and the more homely Faye, the difference, and what it says, is quite striking. It be a nice narrative line to follow on revisits to the film. The acting is safe, with Darnell leaving the red blooded men amongst us happy and wanting more. And in spite of some uneven threading of the plot in the last quarter, the end is a triumph and a genuine surprise. 7/10

Footnote: The source novel the movie was adapted from was written by Marty Holland. Also the author of The File on Thelma Jordan (1949), Marty was actually a she named Mary, of who little or nothing else is known about because after 1949 she upped and vanished never to be heard of again!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a cigar which is just a cigar, 19 Feb 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
This 1945 thriller has all the necessary ingredients for a first-rate film noir. Dana Andrews is more than qualified to play the noir anti-hero (the actor alternates here, as he does in most of his films, between contempt-for-the-world and contempt-for-himself); Linda Darnell is a voluptuous femme fatale (she is not evil, just easily bored); Otto Preminger, the director, is a masterful stylist, particularly in his controlled and expressive use of the camera (as he demonstrated in "Laura," made the year before). And yet, despite all this, the film doesn't take off. It's not so much that the story doesn't work but that the film doesn't achieve the balance of stark realism and primal fantasy (as Freud called it) which characterizes the best noirs. The key failing is Alice Faye who plays the anti-fatale heroine. It is a difficult role to pull off (her character asks us to wake up, to stop dreaming) and Faye can't manage it. She's no replacement for Darnell -- on the screen or in our dreams.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so far-fetched, perhaps?, 29 July 2013
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This review is from: Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
R. J. Blower in his review states that "There is a great deal in Fallen Angel that does not stack up". I see his point, but then I could level this criticism at a great number of films. Perhaps one ought to start from the premise that all fiction is allegory? But it is quite clear when a work is aimed at a reflection of real-life events that in fiction stretches a point or two as licence. This is what we have with "Fallen Angel" a piece that, as we have said, displays questionable credibility in places; but it is none the worse for that and again, as R. J. Blower comments at the end of his short review, "once seen, the film is not forgotten". I am inclined to agree, having now watched the film five times in the space of a year or so.

What may appear on the face of it a little far-fetched can in fact be found to have its origins in reality (whatever that might be - "Molly Dolly, perfume gone, life was but hallucination?") For example, this western notion that clapping a ring on a finger makes for paradise. Certainly Linda Darnell has the potential to lure any hot-blooded male to his doom, which she nearly succeeds in doing for Dana Andrews and achieves outright for Charles Bickford (the hapless, belligerent Inspector Judd). Again, the trusting and adoring Alice Faye (June Mills) could read as an angel out of her depth, but I have known, personally, many a fine lady who has dedicated her life to a "fallen male" or two.

And so, I am going to balk the trend and award this film five stars, one for each viewing!

Incidentally, a little time ago I was imprudent enough to give my views on the Alfred Hitchcock production entitled "Vertigo". Following a less than constructive crop of comments I withdrew the review, together with a number of other reviews where comment bordered on abuse. Apply the "stack up" approach to Hitchcock and a great deal of his work would fall foul of this censure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Film Noir with Bite, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
This outing with Dana Andrews as the anti hero is man down on his luck and looking for a way back when he ends up in a small town with a rich heiress. He tries to win the heiress for money to win the local town tramp. The ending is both surprising and morally though provoking. A good but not over dramatic film. Blade
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Fallen Angel (1945) ... Alice Faye ... Otto Preminger (Director) (2006)", 16 Jan 2011
By 
J. Lovins "Mr. Jim" (Missouri-USA) - See all my reviews
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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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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A second-level noir with a weak star lead, but it has its moments, 7 Aug 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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When con man and general loser Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) drifts into the small California ocean-side town of Walton late one night, he has dollar in his pocket and few prospects. Stanton wanders into the only diner open, Pops, to get a cup of coffee and something to eat. He meets Mr. Judd (Charles Bickford), a retired New York cop, and the waitress, Stella (Linda Darnell). Stanton soon finds himself up to his eyes in three things he didn't expect. He didn't expect to fall for Stella, a sullen beauty who is prepared to sell what men want for a wedding ring and a good life. He didn't expect to find himself on the run for Stella's murder...with a wife, June Mills (Alice Faye), a woman he married for her money so that he and Stella could eventually be together. Not only are the Walton cops after him, they've signed up Judd to help out, a smart, tough man who doesn't hesitate to punch up a suspect if that's what he thinks is needed. And Stanton sure didn't expect to ever find himself in a situation he couldn't talk himself out of.

The one thing that struck me about this movie is how much of a hole in the center Alice Faye leaves. Her June Mills is so bland and vanilla that her character is just not very interesting. She loves Stanton, she's loyal, she's convinced not only that Stanton is innocent, but that he has the ability to change his life into something worthwhile. In other words, June Mills is so noble she's boring. This may be the way the part was written, but Faye doesn't seem to have the acting ability to add some edge around the words. Having to compete with Linda Darnell's lush sullenness was beyond Faye's abilities. It would have been interesting, for instance, to see Ann Sheridan as June Mills, speaking the same lines. That leaves the three main characters who, for me, were hard to feel much for: Stella, who'll take you to the cleaners before she'll take you to bed; June, who'll probably want to pray with you every night before you climb into bed; and Eric Stanton, a weak con man who often gets caught up in his own cons.

One other weakness for me is that it is easy to spot the killer, but his comeuppance only came about in a fast last three minutes of the movie. The reason for the killing is nice and tawdry, but I wish that we'd had one or two strong red herrings to chew on. There were a lot of possible candidates but they were left floating alone by themselves.

I liked the way the small town of Walton looked and was photographed, tidy and boring. The opening of the movie -- the state highway speeding by at night with the credits appearing as signs -- was nicely atmospheric. Stanton's conning of June into having her fall for him was great. The screenwriter hit just the right notes of sincerity, friendliness and charm, all of which was a little too practiced. It was fun watching Stanton in action. He thinks of himself as able to talk anyone into anything. Dana Andrews and the lines he says make it believable.

One of the strengths of the movie now is the range of fine character actors who show up. To name a few, in addition to Bickford, there's John Carradine, Percy Kilbride, Bruce Cabot, Jimmy Conlin and Olin Howland. You may not recognize all the names, but if you're fond of old movies you'll recognize the faces. And Anne Revere does a fine job as Clara, June Mills' older and protective sister. Revere was a plain looking, raw-boned woman and a first-rate actress. She was one of many whose film careers were destroyed in the Hollywood witch-hunts of the late Forties and Fifties.

Fallen Angel is a minor noir, but worth a look. The DVD presentation is just fine. There are a couple of minor extras, and a commentary by Eddie Muller, described as a noted film noir historian, and Dana Andrews daughter, Susan Andrews. I didn't listen to it. The case contains a small, four-page booklet that gives insights into the movie.
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Fallen Angel [1945] [DVD]
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