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Fallen Angel (1945)


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Otto Preminger, fresh off the success of " Laura", was tasked with recreating the same success with a vehicle intended to promote Alice Faye.  Preminger brought along the same cinematographer, Joseph Lashelle.  The plot is about drifter Eric Stanton ( Dana Andrews) who gets stranded in a small town called Walton because he doesn't have enough bus fare to get to San Francisco. He goes to a local eatery called Pop's Eats where the owner, Pops, is worried about waitress Stella ( Linda Darnell) who hasn't shown up for work in 4 days.

Stella eventually shows up and Stanton is immediately smitten by her.  He finds out that the line is long but gets close enough to Stella to figure out that she would marry him if he could provide the things she wants.  Stanton later meets rich heiress June ( Alice Faye) and comes up with a scheme to marry her, get her money and a divorce and take the loot back to Stella.  

This is a gorgeously shot film.  Just for the cinematography of Lashelle alone this is a must see film.  The plot is pretty good and has a nice twist.  The acting is top notch. Its just a great all around film.  I rate this a 7.5 out of 10....

 

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On 8/6/2018 at 11:11 PM, Moorman said:

Otto Preminger, fresh off the success of " Laura", was tasked with recreating the same success with a vehicle intended to promote Alice Faye.  Preminger brought along the same cinematographer, Joseph Lashelle.  The plot is about drifter Eric Stanton ( Dana Andrews) who gets stranded in a small town called Walton because he doesn't have enough bus fare to get to San Francisco. He goes to a local eatery called Pop's Eats where the owner, Pops, is worried about waitress Stella ( Linda Darnell) who hasn't shown up for work in 4 days.

Stella eventually shows up and Stanton is immediately smitten by her.  He finds out that the line is long but gets close enough to Stella to figure out that she would marry him if he could provide the things she wants.  Stanton later meets rich heiress June ( Alice Faye) and comes up with a scheme to marry her, get her money and a divorce and take the loot back to Stella.

This is a first rate noir with,  as you noted,  many of the same high quality personal working on the project as Laura.

The contrast between the two women is interesting and done well.    This type of role isn't easy for an actor and Andrews handles the role really well;   that of a cad that is selfish and greedy but is still a decent type of individual.     Like June (Faye),  one still has faith that Eric will do the right thing when all is on the line.

PS:   ALSO,  the film will be on Wednesday,  August 22nd!  

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This film is airing tomorrow evening on TCM as part of Dana Andrews' Summer Under the Stars tribute.

Yea,  just saw your post about the Dana Andrews' schedule in another thread and updated my post above.

Thanks for those reminders!   

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Just now, jamesjazzguitar said:

Yea,  just saw you post the Dana Andrews' schedule in another thread and updated my post above.

Thanks for those reminders!   

You're welcome. I agree with your comment that Andrews probably has the trickiest role in this picture but handles it effortlessly. I love the supporting turns by Anne Revere as Faye's sister and John Carradine as a phony fortune teller.

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On 8/21/2018 at 3:08 PM, TopBilled said:

This film is airing tomorrow evening on TCM as part of Dana Andrews' Summer Under the Stars tribute.

This is just a beautifully shot film.  I think this is gonna be one of those that grows on you and gets better with time.  I especially like the part that Alice Faye played. At first she seemed to be in the way and was kinda of a annoying.  As the film went along her character proved to be a shining light.  She was the only thing real.  Its the nuances that I love in great films...

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8 minutes ago, Moorman said:

This is just a beautifully shot film.  I think this is gonna be one of those that grows on you and gets better with time.  I especially like the part that Alice Faye played. At first she seemed to be in the way and was kinda of a annoying.  As the film went along her character proved to be a shining light.  She was the only thing real.  Its the nuances that I love in great films...

Good way to describe it. It's a film I've grown to appreciate more, too. I love the relationship between the two sisters. They're a strong self-sustaining family unit. Then Andrews comes into the picture and everything changes.

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3 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Good way to describe it. It's a film I've grown to appreciate more, too. I love the relationship between the two sisters. They're a strong self-sustaining family unit. Then Andrews comes into the picture and everything changes.

I liked the role her sister played also.  She was real also.  She really cares for her sister and took steps to try and make sure that she would be ok.

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I read somewhere that Alice Faye was so disappointed with this film that she ended her contract with the studio.  She claimed that many of her scenes were deleted so that more attention could be given to Linda Darnell.  As I recall, Alice Faye was quite good in this.  I can't help but wonder just how much of her part was omitted.

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24 minutes ago, Terrence1 said:

I read somewhere that Alice Faye was so disappointed with this film that she ended her contract with the studio.  She claimed that many of her scenes were deleted so that more attention could be given to Linda Darnell.  As I recall, Alice Faye was quite good in this.  I can't help but wonder just how much of her part was omitted.

Yes,  some of Faye's scenes were cut \ reduced but to me that is a good thing because there needed to be about equal focus on both of the women (until the one is killed),  and after that happens Faye has a lot of substantial scenes.

In addition I find the love-story redemption angle between Andrews and Faye to be the least interesting sub-plot in the film.  (verses say the Andrews as con-man angle with Faye as his target being a lot more interesting and of course his reasons why, related to 'nailing' Darnell).

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3 hours ago, Terrence1 said:

I read somewhere that Alice Faye was so disappointed with this film that she ended her contract with the studio.  She claimed that many of her scenes were deleted so that more attention could be given to Linda Darnell.  As I recall, Alice Faye was quite good in this.  I can't help but wonder just how much of her part was omitted.

One of the things that got cut was a musical number. Faye actually had a bigger career as a recording artist. So her movies often promoted songs she recorded and took to the top of the charts. She was basically the female equivalent of Bing Crosby during those years. Having a new song cut from FALLEN ANGEL would have affected her record sales and radio airplay. I think this was more than just jealousy about Darnell. She had to have known she was a bigger star than Darnell and a much bigger moneymaker.

It was really the fact that Zanuck was preventing her from cross-promoting her music. Also, I think playing a straight dramatic role was quite challenging for her and she was burned out after she finished this picture. She did not end her contract with the studio, she just refused to do any more pictures and she was on an indefinite suspension.

Into the late 40s and early 50s the radio show she did with husband Phil Harris (who was still making pictures at Fox) always billed her as Alice Faye, courtesy of 20th Century Fox, indicating she was still under contract. This is why she never made any films at other studios during those years. Zanuck refused to terminate her contract. From what I read she continued to "owe" the studio one more picture until she finally did STATE FAIR in 1962, which ironically had its previous version released in 1945 the same year she made FALLEN ANGEL.

She worked on STATE FAIR when Zanuck was off in Europe and no longer doing the day-to-day overseeing of the studio in Hollywood. She held a grudge against him that whole time. After STATE FAIR and the end of her contract with Fox, she was finally able to start freelancing. I read somewhere how Zanuck tried hard to get her to do STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (the role Ruth Hussey ultimately did). It's a shame she was still at loggerheads with Zanuck, because that film would have been perfect for her.

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18 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

One of the things that got cut was a musical number. Faye actually had a bigger career as a recording artist. So her movies often promoted songs she recorded and took to the top of the charts. She was basically the female equivalent of Bing Crosby during those years. Having a new song cut from FALLEN ANGEL would have affected her record sales and radio airplay. I think this was more than just jealousy about Darnell. She had to have known she was a bigger star than Darnell and a much bigger moneymaker.

It was really the fact that Zanuck was preventing her from cross-promoting her music. Also, I think playing a straight dramatic role was quite challenging for her and she was burned out after she finished this picture. She did not end her contract with the studio, she just refused to do any more pictures and she was on an indefinite suspension.

Into the late 40s and early 50s the radio show she did with husband Phil Harris (who was still making pictures at Fox) always billed her as Alice Faye, courtesy of 20th Century Fox, indicating she was still under contract. This is why she never made any films at other studios during those years. Zanuck refused to terminate her contract. From what I read she continued to "owe" the studio one more picture until she finally did STATE FAIR in 1962, which ironically had its previous version released in 1945 the same year she made FALLEN ANGEL.

She worked on STATE FAIR when Zanuck was off in Europe and no longer doing the day-to-day overseeing of the studio in Hollywood. She held a grudge against him that whole time. After STATE FAIR and the end of her contract with Fox, she was finally able to start freelancing. I read somewhere how Zanuck tried hard to get her to do STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (the role Ruth Hussey ultimately did). It's a shame she was still at loggerheads with Zanuck, because that film would have been perfect for her.

In many noir films other actresses that could sing or dance had pure entertainment scenes (scenes that did not advance the plot),  to just perform a song (or dance).     E.g.  Jane Russell in the two noirs she made with Mitchum for RKO or even someone without much musical talent like Liz Scott (duped in Dead Reckoning) but the character these actresses were playing are entertainers so such scenes felt 'natural' in the flow of the narrative.     

Faye wasn't playing such a character;   Yea, there is one scene in her church were she is playing the organ,  but it would have looked real corny is she broke out into a song.   I.e. hard to make that look natural based on the character she was playing.

 

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6 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

In many noir films other actresses that could sing or dance had pure entertainment scenes (scenes that did not advance the plot),  to just perform a song (or dance).     E.g.  Jane Russell in the two noirs she made with Mitchum for RKO or even someone without much musical talent like Liz Scott (duped in Dead Reckoning) but the character these actresses were playing are entertainers so such scenes felt 'natural' in the flow of the narrative.     

Faye wasn't playing such a character;   Yea, there is one scene in her church were she is playing the organ,  but it would have looked real corny is she broke out into a song.   I.e. hard to make that look natural based on the character she was playing.

Yes, Ann Sheridan has a sensational musical number in NORA PRENTISS because she's playing a nightclub singer. And I agree that Faye is not really playing that kind of character in FALLEN ANGEL so it would have been less organic to the story. But maybe they could have done a compromise, where the song was cut from the story but still was heard over the opening and closing credits. The song did not have to be entirely dropped. I would venture to say Faye and Zanuck were caught up in a power struggle. He was going to show her who was boss, and she was going to show him that she didn't have to put up with it and work for him anymore.

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16 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Yes, Ann Sheridan has a sensational musical number in NORA PRENTISS because she's playing a nightclub singer. And I agree that Faye is not really playing that kind of character in FALLEN ANGEL so it would have been less organic to the story. But maybe they could have done a compromise, where the song was cut from the story but still was heard over the opening and closing credits. The song did not have to be entirely dropped. I would venture to say Faye and Zanuck were caught up in a power struggle. He was going to show her who was boss, and she was going to show him that she didn't have to put up with it and work for him anymore.

That 'playing over the opening and closing credits' is a great idea;  work out something that is a win-win for both the artist and the suit.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

That 'playing over the opening and closing credits' is a great idea;  work out something that is a win-win for both the artist and the suit.

What's really interesting about this whole thing is that Faye ended up remaining under contract to Fox longer than anyone else (from 1934 to 1962). If she hadn't stormed off the lot after FALLEN ANGEL, she probably would have made her next film for the studio in '46 or '47 and been done. By the 50s she would have been on television and transitioned from the movies. But because Zanuck was determined to show her that he still "owned" her, the association between Alice Faye and Fox continued into the 1960s. Long after Linda Darnell had stopped working there.

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This is a great discussion on Fallen Angel.  It is indeed a beautifully made noir, with plenty of atmosphere.  I particularly liked the way Linda Darnell’s character, Stella, walks into Pop’s Eats, after missing for a couple of days, and announces “I’m hungry”, and then chows down on a hamburger meant for Andrews.  Also, the seductive and showy way she puts on lip stick.  And when Andrews tells her they’re practically married, after they had sex, she gives a dismissive “ha ha”.  These touches conveyed so much about her character.

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On 8/28/2018 at 11:30 AM, cinemaspeak59 said:

This is a great discussion on Fallen Angel.  It is indeed a beautifully made noir, with plenty of atmosphere.  I particularly liked the way Linda Darnell’s character, Stella, walks into Pop’s Eats, after missing for a couple of days, and announces “I’m hungry”, and then chows down on a hamburger meant for Andrews.  Also, the seductive and showy way she puts on lip stick.  And when Andrews tells her they’re practically married, after they had sex, she gives a dismissive “ha ha”.  These touches conveyed so much about her character.

Truly making her the polar opposite of Alice Faye's character.

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15 minutes ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

Good question. Perhaps both as TopBilled mentions. 

Interestingly the title implies in a nearly sexist way the fallen angel has to be a bad girl. But we could apply it to Dana Andrews' character as well.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Interestingly the title implies in a nearly sexist way the fallen angel has to be a bad girl. But we could apply it to Dana Andrews' character as well.

Great point. 

I checked and the book the screenplay was written from was also called Fallen Angel.    I wonder if in the book it is made clear if one of the characters is the fallen angel or not.    I believe we all agree that title doesn't apply well to any character in the film (or could apply to multiple characters).    

But thinking more about this the ex-cop that ends up being the killer might be the best fit.

 

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2 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

So true.   But which one was the fallen angle? 

 

Stella.  She is the narcissist that runs from man to man.  This leads me to believe that this film was the wrong vehicle to try and showcase Alice Faye and the director knew it.  The TITLE of the book and film is about Stella and the search for which of her lovers bumped her off...

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7 minutes ago, Moorman said:

Stella.  She is the narcissist that runs from man to man.  This leads me to believe that this film was the wrong vehicle to try and showcase Alice Faye and the director knew it.  The TITLE of the book and film is about Stella and the search for which of her lovers bumped her off...

I can see that,  but as TB points out it is from a sexist and very dated POV.    I.e.that the label of fallen angle,  implies that women that behave like that deserve to be murdered by jealous \ insecure men.

But of course given the times,  the prevailing view was that women who were sexually open were 'bad' by definition and Hollywood generally reflected this view under the Production code (but during the pre-code era there were exceptions like Baby Face and Red-Headed Women).

 

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