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Kitty Vane, Alan Trent, and Gerald Shannon have been inseparable friends since childhood. Kitty has always known she would marry one of them, but has waited until the beginning of World War I before finally choosing Alan. Gerald graciously gives them his blessing. Then, Gerald and Alan go to war. Angered over a misunderstanding involving Alan and Kitty, Gerald sends Alan on a dangerous mission that will change all their lives forever. Written by
George S. Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The role of Alan Trent was originally intended for Leslie Howard, who was having an affair with Merle Oberon at the time. When the affair ended, Howard dropped out of the production and Fredric March replaced him - much to the disgust of director Sidney Franklin, who thought Oberon wouldn't draw audiences without Howard as her co-star. See more »
Although the bulk of the story takes place during World War I, and the time immediately thereafter, all of the women's clothes and hairstyles, particularly those of Merle Oberon, Janet Beecher and Frieda Inescort are strictly in the 1935 mode. See more »
The Dark Angel is notable for Merle Oberon's debut in an American made film and Sam Goldwyn spared no expense for her. The film did win an Oscar for Set Decoration and Merle got an Academy Award nomination. In the last year the Academy allowed write-ins, Oberon and the four others competing in the Best Actress category lost to Bette Davis in Dangerous.
Originally The Dark Angel was a flop play on Broadway by Guy Bolton writing under the pseudonym of H.B. Trevelyan and only ran 63 performances in the 1925 season. It fared better on screen where Fredric March's and Merle Oberon's parts are played by the then popular silent screen team of Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky.
Had Colman done the sound version he might have made The Dark Angel stand up better than it does today. March and the rest of the cast try hard enough, but the whole thing comes up a bit silly today.
Fredric March and Herbert Marshall are a couple of friendly rivals for the hand of Merle Oberon in the days before World War I. March is of course a Canadian to explain is American speech pattern. Oberon picks March and Marshall takes it in good grace with proper stiff upper lip.
Later on they want to get married before he goes to the front and in typical army fashion, the red tape gets in the way. They are so in love that they spend the night together.
Though this leaves Merle none the worst for wear, when news of it gets out Marshall is most put out. When they get to the front he takes it out on March.
Today's audiences with changing attitudes are going to find all this really much ado about nothing. At least I thought so. Still the stars do give it their best, but the film really dates badly.
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