7.3/10
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87 user 47 critic

Angel Face (1953)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 11 February 1953 (USA)
Ambulance driver Frank Jessup is ensnared in the schemes of the sensuous but dangerous Diane Tremayne.

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writers:

Frank S. Nugent (screenplay) (as Frank Nugent), Oscar Millard (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Mitchum ... Frank Jessup
Jean Simmons ... Diane Tremayne Jessup
Mona Freeman ... Mary Wilton
Herbert Marshall ... Mr. Charles Tremayne
Leon Ames ... Fred Barrett
Barbara O'Neil ... Mrs. Catherine Tremayne
Kenneth Tobey ... Bill Crompton
Raymond Greenleaf ... Arthur Vance
Griff Barnett ... The Judge
Robert Gist ... Miller
Morgan Farley ... Juror
Jim Backus ... District Attorney Judson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Tannen ... TV Broadcaster (scenes deleted)
Ralph Volkie Ralph Volkie ... Good Humor Man (scenes deleted)
Peggy Walker 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:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

After Diane insists on paying for dinner, Frank declines her offer, noting that he can afford it even on his salary. He takes out his wallet and places money on the table. Diane then later says, "At least let me pay for my half." He obliges. She takes out her purse and gives him some cash. Frank then picks up the money he had put down (which would have covered the full bill), puts her money (covering half the bill) down in its place, and gives her all of his money, which she puts in her purse. Nobody ends up paying for Frank's half and Diane ends up with more money than she started with. 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 behind ...
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Connections

Featured in Los Angeles Film Noir (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Ann
(foxtrot) (uncredited)
Music by Roy Webb and Gene Rose
See more »

User Reviews

 
What a subtle and yet outrageous movie, great plot and direction and acting
11 February 2011 | by secondtakeSee 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

11 February 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Murder See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,039,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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