An American Cinematheque presentation at The Egyptian.
Ultra low-budget late-noir flick that seems to blend the mood of classic noir with the sleaze of early drive-in exploitation; Hershell Gordon Lewis channeling Howard Hawks. Rightfully heralded more as a priceless historical record than as a quality movie, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the Bunker Hill area of downtown Los Angeles on the eve of its destruction. The seedy tenements, streets, bars and strip clubs are wonderfully evocative of a lost place and time.
The lurid and preposterous story, for what it's worth, involves Thourlby's recovering alcoholic being used as bait (he's a 'pretty boy', you see) to lure and capture a violent serial killer stalking attractive lotharios on Bunker Hill. In the process, he is drawn to the damaged and peroxided Liz, a particularly inept stripper at the local titty-bar.
The whole thing comes to a very sudden halt, the result, it turns out, of the film crew being busted by the police for filming without a permit.
As a no-budget thriller, 'Angel's Flight' is surprisingly enjoyable, not least because of some genuinely bizarre and at times charismatic performances from the leads, and a raucously sleazy jazz score. But the movie's real value is to Los Angeles history buffs as a brilliantly evocative record of Bunker Hill. It is in this latter role that I award it so highly.
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