IMDb > The Tarnished Angels (1957)
The Tarnished Angels
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The Tarnished Angels (1957) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Faulkner (novel)
George Zuckerman (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Tarnished Angels on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 January 1958 (USA) See more »
Story of a friendship between an eccentric journalist and a daredevil barnstorming pilot. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Crying circus See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Rock Hudson ... Burke Devlin

Robert Stack ... Roger Shumann

Dorothy Malone ... LaVerne Shumann

Jack Carson ... Jiggs

Robert Middleton ... Matt Ord

Alan Reed ... Colonel Fineman
Alexander Lockwood ... Sam Hagood
Christopher Olsen ... Jack Shumann (as Chris Olsen)

Robert J. Wilke ... Hank

Troy Donahue ... Frank Burnham

William Schallert ... Ted Baker
Betty Utey ... Dancing Girl
Phil Harvey ... Telegraph Editor
Steve Drexel ... Young Man
Eugene Borden ... Claude Mollet
Steve Ellis ... Mechanic (as Stephen Ellis)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Bill Baldwin ... Pylon Air Race Announcer (voice) (uncredited)
Jack Chefe ... Chef at Roger's Memorial Dinner (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Newspaper Office Clerk (uncredited)

Directed by
Douglas Sirk 
Writing credits
William Faulkner (novel "Pylon")

George Zuckerman (screenplay)

Produced by
Albert Zugsmith .... producer
Original Music by
Frank Skinner 
Cinematography by
Irving Glassberg (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Russell F. Schoengarth 
Art Direction by
Alexander Golitzen 
Alfred Sweeney 
Set Decoration by
Oliver Emert 
Russell A. Gausman 
Costume Design by
Bill Thomas 
Makeup Department
Bud Westmore .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Wilbur Mosier .... second assistant director
David Silver .... assistant director
Sound Department
Leslie I. Carey .... sound
Corson Jowett .... sound
Edward L. Sandlin .... sound editor (uncredited)
Joe Sikorsky .... sound editor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Clifford Stine .... special photography
Music Department
Joseph Gershenson .... music supervisor
Henry Mancini .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Ethmer Roten .... musician: flute (uncredited)
Herman Stein .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
91 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

During the location shooting in San Diego of this film, Robert Stack's wife was about to have their first child. While filming the tense scene where Stack propositions his own wife (played by Dorothy Malone), suddenly a plane flew right by the cameras with letters tailing four feet tall proclaiming IT'S A GIRL! Rock Hudson had arranged to have the hospital call immediately when the news came and hired a stunt pilot to tow the message behind the plane. Stack was deeply moved by Hudson's generosity, saying in his autobiography, "It's a moment I've never forgotten. Anybody who tells me that Rock Hudson isn't a first-class gent had better put up his dukes."See more »
Revealing mistakes: When Laverne does her parachute jump, she is seen in close shots hanging by her arms from a trapeze-style bar. However in the longer shots, she is seen to be in a normal parachute harness as she lands.See more »
Ted Baker:On the level, what'd you do last night?
Burke Devlin:Nothing much:just sat up half the night discussing literature and life with a beautiful, half naked blonde.
Ted Baker:You better change bootleggers.
See more »
Old Folks at HomeSee more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Crying circus, 15 November 2012
Author: jc-osms from United Kingdom

Great for me to see this rarely-scheduled Douglas Sirk melodrama from his rich, late 50's period and it didn't disappoint. Taking as its subject the uncommon lifestyles of the participants in the popular flying-circus entertainments of the 20's and 30's, it's not long before the familiar Sirk themes of conflicting passions, human weakness and sacrifice raise their heads above the parapet.

For some reason shot in black and white, perhaps to better enhance the period setting, I still firmly believe that all Sirk's work should be seen in glorious colour, no one filled these CinemaScope screens better than he in the affluent 50's. Only just lasting 90 minutes, it crams a lot into its time-frame, drawing convincing character-sketches of the lead parties, Rock Hudson's maverick journalist, generous of spirit and loquacious but seeking love in the person of the beautiful, sexy Dorothy Malone parachutist extraordinaire, she frustrated by the lack of attention she and her son get from her obsessive pilot husband Robert Stack, who'd rather fly above the clouds than engage with earth-dwellers. Throw in his grease-monkey Jack Carson who may have had a fling with Malone in the past and hangs around as much for the scraps she throws him as his duty to Stack and a Mr Big aircraft-owner with designs of his own on Malone and you have an eternal quadrangle ripe for tragedy.

Sure enough, it happens along and spectacularly too, straightening out the lives of the survivors, even if not, I suspect for the better. The acting is first rate, Hudson again showing the depth that Sirk always seemed to draw out of him, handling long-speeches and a drunken scene with ease. Stack again displays his facility for acting against type, playing another emotionally stunted individual masquerading behind his good looks and bravura outlook. Malone however is the epicentre of the movie, the action revolves all around her and it's no wonder with her sexiness and sense of vulnerability, a killer combination for the menfolk here.

Sirk's direction is excellent, juxtaposing thrilling action sequences in the air with oddly contrasting backgrounds - it's no coincidence that the drama is played out in New Orleans at Mardi-Gras time, with the use of masks often showing up in foreground and background as a metaphor for the concealed passions on display here. There are several memorable scenes, like when Hudson and Malone's first illicit kiss is disturbed jarringly by a masked party-goer and Stack's adoring son trapped on a fairground airplane-ride just as his father loses control of his real-life plane.

So there you have it, another engrossing examination of fallible individuals, expertly purveyed by the best Hollywood director of drama in the 50's. Not as soap-sudsy as some of Sirk's other movies of the period, perhaps due to the literary source of the story, but engrossing from take-off to landing.

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