Fallen Angel

Otto Preminger’s classic noir charts the downfall of a philanderer who marries for money, only to turn murder suspect when his true sweetheart is found dead.

Dana Andrews (who also appeared in Otto Preminger’s hugely successful film Laura the previous year) stars as Eric Stanton, a press agent down on his luck, who drifts into a small coastal town in California. He meets June (Alice Faye), a wealthy but reclusive woman, and has his eye on Stella (Linda Darnell), a sultry waitress. Although falling in love with Stella, Eric is broke and decides to marry June for her money, planning a rapid divorce in favour of Stella. However, when Stella is mysteriously murdered, he becomes a suspect and things begin to go wrong…

Fallen Angel centres on Eric’s relationship with the two women. As in the later Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), Dana Andrews embodies a character who is dangerously untrustworthy but in whom women seem to recognise an underlying integrity. However, little in the film is quite as it seems. Stella proves to be more principled than expected and June is less inhibited. Eric is not quite the rat he first appears to be and his cynicism is ultimately transformed into romance, indicated in the line of verse from which the film takes its title: ‘Then love alone can make the fallen angel rise.’

The film explores, as do many other melodramas of the period such as Mildred Pierce (1945) and Shadow of a Doubt (1943), the attraction exerted by a raffish or unreliable man who brings excitement into the lives of women seemingly trapped in small-town boredom. While apparently reconfirming conventional morality, these films give a glimpse of something more exciting.

Special features

  • Theatrical trailer.
  • Biography of Otto Preminger.
  • Biography of story-writer Marty Holland.

Product information

    • Certificate

      PG

    • Colour

      Black/white

    • Sound

      Sound

    • Running time

      98mins

    • Original aspect ratio

      1.33:1

    • DVD region

      • 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories

    • Catalogue number

      BFIVD612

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