A slick con man arrives in a small town looking to make some money, but soon gets more than he bargained for.A slick con man arrives in a small town looking to make some money, but soon gets more than he bargained for.A slick con man arrives in a small town looking to make some money, but soon gets more than he bargained for.
The almost always underrated Dana Andrews is superb here in a brilliantly understated performance: by posture, tilt of head, and deft deployment of his eyes he communicates more than most actors manage to tell with their whole scenery-chewing bodies; and Alice Faye kept me guessing: was her June the "still water runs deep" character whodunit? Most of all there's 'Fallen Angel's peerless camera-work and direction that raise it a notch or two above the rather overrated 'Laura' - whose plot sometimes drags and which is chiefly rescued by the literate, finicky presence of Clifton Webb; and Gene Tierney's mannered, diffident, and albeit mysterious Laura isn't half the hard-boiled noir femme fatale that Linda Darnell's Stella is in 'Fallen Angel.' There's another lovely, understated effort here from Bruce Cabot and still another from Percy Kilbride; but in the supporting cast Anne Revere stands out for moving the plot along, for creating tangible suspense, and for two solid moments of palpable nape-prickling foreboding.
'Fallen Angel' is just one of the most underrated noirs. Period.
Just one question I'd like to put: when Dana Andrews enters the hotel auditorium during the spook show, is the blonde woman, seated on the aisle one row behind the brunette (Adele Jergens, uncredited) woman Andrews asks to shift over, his future 'The Best Years Of Our Lives' co-star Virginia Mayo? She sure looks like Mayo.
By the way, the recent 'Fallen Angel' DVD release commentary track by noir maven Eddie Muller is gracefully enhanced by his pairing with with Dana Andrews' daughter Susan Andrews.
- Mar 8, 2006