7.3/10
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72 user 44 critic

Angel Face (1953)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 11 February 1953 (USA)
Ambulance driver Frank Jessup is ensnared in the schemes of the sensuous but dangerous Diane Tremayne.

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(screenplay) (as Frank Nugent), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
...
...
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Arthur Vance
...
The Judge
Robert Gist ...
Miller
...
Juror
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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TV Broadcaster (scenes deleted)
Ralph Volkie ...
Good Humor Man (scenes deleted)
Peggy Walker ...
TV Girl (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

When Mrs. Tremayne is mysteriously poisoned with gas, ambulance driver Frank Jessup meets her refined but sensuous stepdaughter Diane, who quickly pursues and infatuates him. Under Diane's seductive influence, Frank is soon the Tremayne chauffeur; but he begins to suspect danger under her surface sweetness. When he shows signs of pulling away, Diane schemes to get him in so deep he'll never get out. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

NAKED DRAMA as fierce and unashamed as the crime that gave it birth! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

11 February 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murder Story  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,039,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Robert Mitchum got fed up with repeated re-takes in which director Otto Preminger ordered him to slap Jean Simmons across the face, he turned around and slapped Preminger, asking whether it was this way he wanted it. Preminger immediately demanded of producer Howard Hughes that Mitchum be replaced. Hughes refused. See more »

Goofs

(00:02:56) The shadow of the microphone at the top of the headboard is visible, right after Mrs. Tremayne says "Someone tried to murder me." Then the microphone (shadow) turns to the left towards another actor. See more »

Quotes

Frank Jessup: [of Diane's 'evil' stepmother] ... If she's tryin' to kill you, why did she turn on the gas in her own room first?
Diane Tremayne: ...To make it look as though somebody else were guilty...
Frank Jessup: Is that what you did?
Diane Tremayne: Frank, are you accusing me?
Frank Jessup: I'm not accusing anybody. But if I were a cop, and not a very bright cop at that, I'd say that your story was as phony as a three dollar bill.
Diane Tremayne: ...How can you say that to me?
Frank Jessup: Oh, you mean after all we've been to each other?... Diane, look. I don't pretend to know what goes on ...
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Soundtracks

I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night
(uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Heard as source music instrumental in Harry's Café
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What a subtle and yet outrageous movie, great plot and direction and acting
11 February 2011 | by See all my reviews

Angel Face (1952)

An extraordinary film in many ways, including simply avoiding clichés. It starts with a slap, and ends with a real shock. Between it beguiles, it plays with your sympathies, it seems to toy with an obvious turn of events then subverts it.

Robert Mitchum is the obvious centerpiece for most viewers, and if you know him you know he's consistent in all his roles, including in this one where he plays a mechanic doing odd jobs. More impressive, for me, is the femme fatale, the leading woman, Jean Simmons, who not only has an angel face, but an expressive one, moving from lively and untarnished to devious, pained, or stubborn. The two of them do not have the on screen chemistry of some of the great romances in film--blame Mitchum, maybe, for his coolness, attractive as it is to the viewer, or blame the director, Otto Preminger.

Preminger, for all his genius and willingness to flaunt the censors, is a director's director, a little like Welles without the burden of virtuosity. His best films ("Man with the Golden Arm" and "Laura" and possibly "Anatomy of a Murder") present a romantic situation as if it is a given. It doesn't really develop into something steamy or passionate or emotionally necessary. That is, he's no Nicholas Ray in this sense. And so in "Angel Face" there is a romantic involvement that is believable but never quite compelling.

And usually this is perfect, because Mitchum and Simmons in their parts are wary of each other, or are not quite involved for the sake of love. Or for love alone. That's partly why the movie works, as a movie, in a slightly different way than we expect from this kind of romance. And it's not just a romance, of course, with the hint of murder in the fringes. And then a real murder, with a huge and awful twist.

There's no question this is a beautiful movie, and a compact one, moving through several phases of the plot with fluidity. The secondary actors are good, mainly the inimitable Herbert Marshall as the father. And the writing is particularly good, I think. This is a special movie the way Jacques Tourneur's "Out of the Past," which also stars Mitchum. It's has film noir strains, but it is something else completely, too. Special stuff.


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