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Band of Angels (1957)

Amantha Starr grows up as a privileged southern Belle in the ante-bellum South, but after her father dies broke, her world is destroyed when she discovers her mother was black.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Robert Penn Warren (novel), John Twist (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Clark Gable ... Hamish Bond
Yvonne De Carlo ... Amantha Starr
Sidney Poitier ... Rau-Ru
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ... Lt. Ethan Sears
Rex Reason ... Capt. Seth Parton
Patric Knowles ... Charles de Marigny
Torin Thatcher ... Capt. Canavan
Andrea King ... Miss Idell
Ray Teal ... Mr. Calloway
Russell Evans Russell Evans ... Jimmee
Carolle Drake ... Michele
Raymond Bailey ... Mr. Stuart
Tommie Moore Tommie Moore ... Dollie
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Storyline

Living in Kentucky prior to the Civil War, Amantha Starr is a privileged young woman. Her widower father, a wealthy plantation owner, dotes on her and he sends her to the best schools. When he dies suddenly however, Amantha's world is turned upside down. She learns that her father had been living on borrowed money and that her mother was actually a slave and her father's mistress. The plantation is to be sold to pay off her father's debts and as the daughter of slave, Amantha is also to be sold as property. She is bought by a Louisiana plantation owner, Hamish Bond and over time she grows to love him until she learns he was a slave-trader. She tries again to become part of white society but realizes that her future lies elsewhere. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He Bought Her...She Was His...A Beautiful Slave Who Became Mistress of His Plantation! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 August 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mi pecado fue nacer See more »

Filming Locations:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,500,000, 31 December 1957
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was derisively nicknamed "The Ghost of Gone with the Wind". See more »

Goofs

Both Michele's and Manty's dresses are closed in the back with zippers which were not yet invented in the 1860s. See more »

Quotes

Rau-Ru: Yes, l hate him! At least with the lash of a whip, you know what to fight against. But this kindness is a trap that can hold you in bondage forever. I hate what he's done to me!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Girl on the Run (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Band of Angels
Music by Max Steiner
Lyrics by Carl Sigman
Sung by Sarah Vaughan
Arranged by Murray Cutter (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Freedom's a white word"
17 December 2010 | by Steffi_PSee all my reviews

It's with some sense of poignancy that, in the late 1950s, the old guard of Hollywood began to finally fade away. With Band of Angels we have a middle-aged Clark Gable in one of his last ever archetypal he-man roles, Raoul Walsh, one of the few directors left who had been around since the beginning, and John Twist, a writer of adventures and romances who had started back in the silent era. These men were professionals of their day, still able to turn out a good production, and yet it was also clear they were becoming hopelessly out of time.

Band of Angels is one of many pictures from this time to take a stand on racial issues, and yet even by the standards of the time it is a woefully misguided attempt. Rather than using Yvonne De Carlo's situation to demonstrate the horrors of slavery and make the point that a person's colour is skin deep, it seems to present her being branded black as something horrifying in itself. It holds up kindly masters in mitigation of slavery, and even goes so far as to condemn a slave (the Sidney Poitier character) who is ungrateful for this condescending attitude. There's also a full supporting cast of cringeworthy stereotypes – including a "mammy" – and all the drawling and eye-rolling that cinema had mostly put-paid to by this time. The makers of the movie meant well, I'm sure, but it is clearly a case of old Hollywood trying to do The Defiant Ones while still stuck in Gone with the Wind mode.

And yet there is much to be said for old Hollywood. Walsh's dynamic direction brings an iconic look to scenes like Gable and De Carlo's kiss during the storm. He brings real intensity to the duel between Gable and Raymond Bailey, stealthily moving the camera forward as the two men get closer to each other (a trick he first used in his 1915 feature debut, Regeneration). Despite his age Gable is still very much the virile, eye-catching lead man, and this is a decent performance from him – check out the look in his eyes when he slaps his rival at the slave auction. There is also some achingly beautiful cinematography from Lucien Ballard, with some gorgeous Southern scenery and really effective lighting of interiors, achieving a look with candlelight and shadow that was hard to pull off in Technicolor. Band of Angels is, if nothing else, a movie to be enjoyed visually – and in this way more than any other harks back to a bygone age.


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