Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Dan Duryea and June Vincent
BLACK ANGEL (1946). Director: Roy William Neill. Based on a novel by Cornell Woolrich.

When sexy singer Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling) is murdered, the chief suspect is her lover, Kirk Bennett (John Phillips), who was being blackmailed by her. In spite of his affair, his wife, Catherine (June Vincent), remains loyal, as well as convinced that he is innocent. When he winds up convicted and on death row, with time running out, she makes up her mind to uncover the real murderer, and winds up working with the victim's ex-husband, Martin Blair (Dan Duryea of Terror Street), who was investigated by police and cleared. Catherine and Martin get a job as a singer and accompanist at a night spot owned by Mr. Marko (Peter Lorre of The Verdict), whom Martin swears he saw at Mavis' apartment house the night she was killed. Can the couple uncover the truth before they become more of his victims ,..? Black Angel is an absorbing, nominal film noir with some fine performances and a degree of suspense. Although June Vincent [Shed No Tears] is better cast as a bad girl and at first seems out of place in the movie, she has her typically sharp and unusual delivery to set her apart from the standard heroine. Duryea is, as ever, first-rate for the most part, and Lorre, in another in a long line of supporting roles that wasted his talent, is effortlessly excellent. Broderick Crawford plays the investigator on the case and is about as usual. There's a good score by Frank Skinner, and a snappy number called "I Wanna be Talked About" warbled by a dubbed Vincent. The ending is strangely moving, but you may be scratching your head at a couple of loose ends that make the denouement a bit suspect.

Verdict: Credible mystery with interesting cast. ***. 

No comments: