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Angel on My Shoulder (1946)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy, Romance  |  20 September 1946 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,588 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 10 critic

The Devil arranges for a deceased gangster to return to Earth as a well-respected judge to make up for his previous life.

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(original story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Angel on My Shoulder (1946)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Barbara Foster
...
Nick
Onslow Stevens ...
Dr. Matt Higgins
George Cleveland ...
Albert
Erskine Sanford ...
Minister
Marion Martin ...
Mrs. Bentley
...
Smiley Williams
James Flavin ...
Bellamy
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Storyline

Gangster Eddie Kagel is killed by a trusted lieutenant and finds himself in Harry Redmond Jr's special-effects Hell, where Nick/The Devil sees that he is an-exact double for a judge who Nick doesn't approve of. Eddie is agreeable to having his soul transferred to the judge's body, as it will give him a chance to avenge himself on his killer. But every action taken by Eddie (as the judge) results in good rather than evil and, to Nick's dismay, the reputation and influence of the judge is enhanced, rather than impaired by Eddie. And Eddie also falls in love with the judge's fiancée, Barbara. Even Eddie's planned revenge fails and Nick is forced to concede defeat. He returns to Hell, taking Eddie with him, after Eddie has extracted his promise that Nick will not molest the judge or Barbara in the future. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

judge | devil | gangster | hell | love | See All (16) »

Taglines:

The strange story of Eddie Kagle... the man they couldn't keep down!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 September 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Me and Satan  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario) | (TCM Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After his definitive performance in Scarface (1932), Paul Muni vowed never to play a gangster again. This tactic worked well for a couple of years, with an Academy Award for The Life of Emile Zola (1937) and an Oscar nomination for The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), but eventually the good parts started to dwindle. By 1946, Muni was keen to play a major role again, so took the part of a gangster in this film. See more »

Goofs

Upon arriving in hell, Eddie complains of the smell of rotten eggs. A "chemist" states that this is due to H2SO4. H2SO4 is sulfuric acid, which does not have the smell of rotten eggs. The correct chemical is H2S, or hydrogen sulfide. See more »

Quotes

Nick: [to the sky] Must I run afoul of You again? Am I doomed forever to be vanquished? What has this foul creature incubated in the recesses of foulness done to become your favorite? It was with evil intent that he ventured forth! He volunteered to do my bidding! Must I be humiliated by this maggot? I demand my rights!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: This story is about Eddie Kagle who based his way of living on what Omar Khayyam once said: "Live fully while you may and reckon not the cost". See more »

Connections

Remade as Angel on My Shoulder (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent performances all around in MR. JORDAN turned around
28 December 2003 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

To begin, it's tough as nails to see a decent print of this public domain film. TCM has a very good 35mm print in their library, so I recommend seeing it there (unless you're fortunate to see it on the screen).

ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER was written by Harry Segall, who also penned HERE COMES MR. JORDAN. The film is a delicious turnabout of its wonderful predecessor and Claude Rains turns in his angels wings for devils hoofs and, frankly, is much more deliciously at home. Anne Baxter is superbly understated as Barbara Foster and Onslow Stevens has a larger-than-usual role as her friend and Judge Parker's doctor/psychiatrist. Judge Parker and Eddie Kagle are both played by the great Paul Muni. Muni is a joy to watch in this picture. He rises to both comedic and extraordinarily sensitive moments in the film. And he does a few "Scarface" pantomime moments, brief elegant gestures, that show what a truly great screen presence he could be.

The crucial scene in ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER is where Eddie, brought back from Hades by the Devil and now inhabiting the body of Judge Parker, is having a picnic lunch with his secretary/fiancé. Here he discovers all the truly important and wonderful things that life has to offer - all of which he lost out on because of his life of crime and immorality. Eddie is torn and tortured and Muni plays the inner torment with amazing sincerity. Helping a great deal is one of Dimitri Tiomkin's best, though least-known, musical scores. It is a far cry from his usual bombast and has many passages of great tenderness.

Rains, of course, is marvelous and there are quite a few genuinely threatening moments in his performance. Fine support is given by James Flavin (who, in addition to his role as politico Bellamy is also heard off-screen as a district attorney, a very curious happenstance), George Cleveland (as the Judge's valet), Erskine Sanford as a minister, Hardie Albright as Smiley Williams and Fritz Leiber, Noble Johnson and Kurt Katch as residents of Hades.

This is not a great film. But it's a very, very good film with some very fine sequences and performances. It deserves far better treatment than it has received since its copyright lapsed.


32 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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