Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fallen Angel

As part of Linda Darnell's day in TCM's Summer Under the Stars is a movie that I haven't seen in years, thanks to Darnell's having worked mostly at Fox: Fallen Angel, airing at 6:00 PM.

The nominal lead is Dana Andrews, playing Eric Stanton, a drifter who winds up at a greasy spoon joint where Stella (Darnell) is waitressing. This being Hollywood, you know the two are going to hit it off immediately. But there's a catch: Stella wnts the better things in life, which means she wants a man with money. And a drifter like Eric doesn't exactly have that. What's a man to do? Find a wealthy woman like June Mills (Alice Faye) and marry her for her money. All that's left to do is to figure out a way to separate girl from money, then separate boy from girl, and voilĂ , Eric and Stella can get married and have all that money. This being Hollywood, it really is that easy.

Well, this being Hollywood, you know that there's going to be a complication or two along the way. First off, June has a sister named Clara (Anne Revere) who thinks that Eric isn't all he's cracked up to be. The second complication is that Stella winds up murdered. (Yeah, that is a complication.) Detective Judd (Charles Bickford) investigates, and for obvious reasons thinks that Eric has a good chance of being guilty: he was with Stella on the night she was killed, and their relationship wasn't exactly a secret. On the other hand, June would be an equally good candidate for the murderer. After all, if she found out about Eric's relationship with Stella and knew that Stella wanted her money, why wouldn't she feel threatened?

If you've seen the promos that TCM runs for The Essentials, you'll see Alec Baldwin saying something to the effect that if it's been a few years since you've seen a movie, it's almost like watching it all over again for the first time. I know that I've said the same thing before in my comments on Brighton Rock. So the upshot of all this is that my memory of Fallen Angel is also a bit hazy. It's a movie I enjoyed back when I saw it years ago, and one I'm looking forward to enjoying again.

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