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Band of Angels (1957)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Romance | 3 August 1957 (USA)
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 a 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:

All the passionate violence--All the lush splendor that flows from the tumultuous best-seller by the Pulitzer Prize author of "All the King's Men'! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As a result of her great success with The Ten Commandments (1956), Yvonne De Carlo was offered the female leads in two Warner Brothers films: The Helen Morgan Story (1957) and this movie. She chose this movie after learning that Clark Gable, one of her favorite actors, would be her co-star. 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

Hamish Bond: Wherever you go, l don't want to know whee it is - I don' ever want to know where you are...
See more »

Connections

Edited into La Classe américaine (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Wade in the Water
Traditional
Performed by plantation slaves
See more »

User Reviews

 
That Old Northern Charm
30 June 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

It's obvious that Warner Brothers decided to duplicate the success of Gone With the Wind when they hired Clark Gable for the lead role in Band of Angels. As Hamish Bond, former slave trader, and now plantation owner in the Louisiana delta country, Gable is an older and more worldly wise Rhett Butler. A man deeply concerned about the sins he committed in this life as a slave trader, living it down as best he can.

One of his new charities is Yvonne DeCarlo who received one rude shock when her father died. Her mom was black, one of the plantation slaves and she is technically one also. She's not the mistress of her father's plantation, she along with the rest of the property, real and human, is to be sold for back taxes.

Gable buys her and sets her up in his New Orleans home. Also in that house is a young black man named Ra-Ru played by Sidney Poitier. Poitier, in violation of the laws of the time, has been educated. And he's acquired enough education to appreciate the situation he's in. He's got a great hate for his benefactor who he really sees as no different than other, crueler slave holders.

Today's audience which has seen Steven Spielberg's great true film Amistad about the illegal African slave trade, can appreciate far better Gable's dilemma. It's as if the owners of the Amistad grew a conscience. Gable's description of life in the slave trade when he levels with Yvonne DeCarlo is a high point of the film as is his description of the rescue of an African baby who grew up to be Sidney Poitier.

The film does borrow liberally from Gone With the Wind in terms of Gable's character. But it also borrows from Birth of a Nation. Catch the scenes at his plantation on the delta when his slaves greet him and DeCarlo coming off the riverboat. Very much in keeping with that flawed classic. Had Gable done this film at his former studio MGM, I'm sure Ava Gardner would have been cast opposite him. Though DeCarlo is fine, Ava would have made the part a classic.

Actually it's Poitier who walks off with the acting honors here. His Ra-Ru is filled with fire and passion. What Gable thought of as an act of kindness, is not perceived by Poitier as that. He's educated enough to see exactly the institution of slavery for the dehumanizing force that it is. His confrontation with another plantation owner, Patric Knowles, when he tries to force himself on DeCarlo is not something one with the slave mentality would do. Knowles makes a big mistake in assuming Poitier thinks that way.

Actually Patric Knowles has another important scene with Gable after Poitier assaults Knowles and escapes. Gable has no use for him at all. He's originally from New England and doesn't like southern aristocrats as a group. Though Knowles is reputed to be a dead shot as a duelist, Gable faces him down and makes him turn tail in my favorite scene in the film.

Band of Angels did not get the best of reviews at the time it came out. I think it was ahead of its time and can be better appreciated by audiences today.


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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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