FALLEN ANGEL (1945) Dir Otto Preminger
Attempting to capture the magic of Laura the year before, Preminger got Dana Andrews back into a fedora and Joseph LaShelle lensing but no Gene Tierney, alas. Instead we have a ripe Linda Darnell as the bad girl Stella (she shines at night of course) and Alice Faye as the good girl June (with her summery disposition). Anne Revere plays her once bitten, twice shy thus overprotective sister Clara. With Andrews’ slick customer falling for Stella by the jukebox in the diner, he aims to scam June so he can fleece her and run off with Stella. Of course he underestimates June’s resilience and Stella’s patience.
It’s a beautifully shot film that unwinds the lone-man-against-the-world mythos that continues to incapacitate this nation and Alice Faye is a lot better than people give her credit in this complex role that looks on the surface to be simple. But I can’t help imagining an alternative film where Andrews’ Eric Stanton (! so tantalisingly close to Stanton Carlisle) continues working with John Carradine‘s Professor Madley in the spook racket.
Instead of weighty thoughts about the danger of lust and the salvation of love, we could have had more hucksterism, carny chatter and manifestations/gauzy fakes. I could have gone for that. I suspect it was the last thing Preminger would have considered. But I can dream.
Images out of order there so if you haven’t seen it, it’s not spoiled. This is mostly me admiring LaShelle’s beautiful eye for composition. Also a reminder: never put a hat on a bed! Just don’t.