41 of 1001 Movies: Angel Face (1952)

As someone who is becoming of a fan of Otto Preminger, I was highly excited about watching Angel Face. I also am fascinated by film noir, so this movie was coming along at the right time. With two very great actors leading the film, and an intriguing crime at the heart of this plot I was expecting, and received some shocking moments, and a lot of mystery.

Diane seems to be a lot of men dreams. She’s rich, seductive, risky, and beautiful. When Frank Jessup crosses her path after making an ambulance call to her house one night he can’t help, but take notice of her after she follows him home from his own house. He learns that Diane has a deep seeded hate for her stepmother perhaps to the point of wanting to murder her. Frank begins to find himself in a building path of destruction, and evil beginning after meeting Diane that he isn’t even aware of.

Angel Face probably has one of the most shocking endings I’ve watched. I spent about five minutes just gaping after the ending happened. With very alluring actors to play the parts, and pretty decent plot you have a film that makes an early good Preminger film to begin with though it’s not one of his strongest. I think Jean Simmons is absolutely gorgeous too. She’s one of those actresses that was famous, but you don’t hear as much about her as some other famous actresses.

Robert Mitchum was a fitting leading man though he looked years older than Simmons. He seemed to have the whole playboy thing down to a science though. I couldn’t believe how dumb he was though. Why would you continue to date a crazy lady? It was very obvious by the end that she was insane. There were a few moments that you saw coming though, so the movies suspense wasn’t high, but as I said earlier the ending completely makes up for any terror, or suspense you might have been lacking earlier.

Preminger explores some of his brilliant ability to bring a crime drama to screen with Angel Face a bit before his hits like Anatomy of a Murder. He sticks with some common things that the viewer might find offensive like his perception of women. He seems to like his women a little on the seductive side, and the men easily fall prey to this. As I’ve seen so far he seems have a way of finding the coolest jazz background music to accompany his movies though.

Rating 4 of 5

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