7.0/10
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Black Angel (1946)

When Kirk Bennett is convicted of a singer's murder, his wife tries to prove him innocent...aided by the victim's ex-husband.

Director:

Roy William Neill

Writers:

Roy Chanslor (screenplay), Cornell Woolrich (based on novel by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Duryea ... Martin Blair
June Vincent ... Catherine Bennett
Peter Lorre ... Marko
Broderick Crawford ... Police Captain Flood
Constance Dowling ... Mavis Marlowe
Wallace Ford ... Joe
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Jake
Freddie Steele Freddie Steele ... Lucky
John Phillips ... Kirk Bennett
Ben Bard ... Bartender
Junius Matthews Junius Matthews ... Dr. Courtney
Marion Martin ... Millie
Archie Twitchell ... George Mitchell (as Michael Branden)
Maurice St. Clair Maurice St. Clair ... Dancer (as St. Clair)
Vilova Vilova ... Dancer
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Storyline

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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

HATING HER -YET FASCINATED BY HER...HE HAD TO BE RID OF HER! (reissue three-sheet poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The husband was in prison wearing a jump suit, a white dress shirt and a tie. In jail or prison, no inmate has a tie, belt, or shoe laces. In fact, all items are taken away from the inmate when booked. See more »

Goofs

Wallace Ford's character says, "He sure can play a piano!" Then the camera pans to Dan Duryea's character "playing" a piano. His hands are not even pressing the keys. See more »

Quotes

Catherine Bennett: I had to see you.
Martin Blair: Why... because I had a wife who needed killing and you had a husband who took care of it?
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Connections

Featured in Frances Farmer Presents: Black Angel (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Time Will Tell
(uncredited)
Music by Edgar Fairchild
Lyrics by Jack Brooks
Performed by June Vincent (dubbed) with Dan Duryea
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User Reviews

An unjustly neglected noir gem
17 July 2003 | by eldorado2See all my reviews

"Black Angel" (Universal, 1946) is one of the most entertaining films noir of the 1940s, that era when Hollywood discovered the genre and brought to it a high polish.

In this outstanding dark mystery, based on the novel of the same name by Cornell Woolrich, director Roy William Neill guides stars Dan Duryea and June Vincent through a byzantine plot that begins with murder and proceeds through the arrest and conviction of an innocent person, then finally ends with the true murderer being uncovered.

It sounds simple and straightforward, but Neill keeps the audience off balance throughout. Just when we think one piece of evidence will pay off, it doesn't. When we think another bit of business is benign, it turns out to be a crucial clue to the unraveling of the mystery.

Duryea and Vincent are compelling throughout, and they are supported by two excellent character actors, the always-sinister Peter Lorre and future Oscar winner Broderick Crawford.

And I like to think that with "Black Angel," Universal finally atoned for the fatal mistake it made with another Woolrich thriller, "Phantom Lady," in 1944. In the book "Phantom Lady," written by Woolrich under his pseudonym William Irish, the plot was a tightly woven murder mystery, with the revelation of the culprit coming as a surprise to all but the cleverest readers. But when the story was filmed in 1944, Universal made the outrageous decision to reveal the killer's identity to the audience from the start.

In "Black Angel," the murderer's identity is kept from the public until the end, the suspense is sustained, and the final scenes allow the audience to exhale after an hour and a half of diverting tension.

Now that "Black Angel" is available in VHS, you can enjoy one of the finest examples of American film noir on your own screen.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 August 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Black Angel See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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