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Kirk Bennett is falsely sentenced to death for killing blackmailer Mavis Marlowe, ex-wife of nice-guy drunk Martin Blair. Bennett's stand-up wife Catherine tries to prove him innocent, enlisting the aid of Blair, who falls in love with her. Bennett's execution draws near as the two pose as piano player and singer, trying to get the goods on sleazy nightclub owner Marko, a prime suspect. Failing to nail Marko, Catherine goes off to meet with her husband, scheduled to die the next morning, and Blair slips into an alcoholic stupor before the real killer is revealed. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Dan Duryea appeared in a number of Films Noirs and always brought intensity and conviction to his villain roles. Something about his looks and voice sums up the essence of Noir.
Fortunately for Film Noir enthusiasts, "Black Angel" has finally been issued on video. This is an extremely enjoyable dark drama with a few variations of its own: first, the casting of Duryea in the lead is a wonderful asset, since he was an excellent actor and his previous screen incarnations had type-cast him as a weakling or a sleazy con artist; second, Duryea's character, a depressed musician is an unexpected turn on the noir hero, not a jaded detective, or ex-con loner. Further, the presence of Peter Lorre in any film, especially playing a villain is always welcome. And Constance Dowling has a memorable moment on screen as a tempermental singer.
Based on a Cornell Woolrich story, the movie's intrigue is sufficiently convoluted, though not as much as in some other films of this type. "Black Angel" is true Film Noir in its depiction of a down and out protagonist up against a seemingly unstoppable dark force.
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