TITLE: Fallen Angel (1945) • NR • 1:37:11
Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, Charles Bickford
Otto Preminger (Director)
After I finished watching this movie I couldn't tell if Otto Preminger (a director, who was well known for casting an unflattering light on American social conventions [i.e.—[[ASIN:B00687XO1G Anatomy of a Murder (1959)]]] and socially accepted mores [i.e.—[[ASIN:B002TOL4AK The Moon Is Blue (1953)]]]) was mocking the "love conquers all" mind-set or celebrating its existence. Such ambiguity in a movie, I'm often told, is the hallmark of a director at the top of his (or her) game — the director provides a seemingly detached "view" into a situation, and let's YOU decide how YOU should feel about it.
In the real world, the only time that someone is ambiguous about a major issue is when they are either mentally deficient, or they are trying to con you — which, admittedly, may be what Preminger is trying to do here (namely: con us into thinking that love REALLY does conquer all). Anyway, don't let all this talk about love (and my cynical statements towards it) distract you from what is, otherwise (or, maybe, because of it), an EXCELLENT example of film noir! All of the best noir elements are here, namely: a seemingly bright guy — who is in WAY over his head; a woman of questionable morals — who gets the aforementioned "bright guy" into trouble; a relentless, sadistic cop — who will stop at nothing to "get" his man (or woman); and, lastly, a good murder mystery to stir the pot. Sit back and enjoy the show — this is a good one, boys and girls! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
NOTE: This movie is one of the films from Fox Home Video's exemplary "Fox Film Noir" series of DVDs (and, in some cases, blu-rays). Every one of the DVDs from this series that I have purchased (e.g.—this movie, [[ASIN:B000EXDSBQ I Wake Up Screaming (1941)]], [[ASIN:B000LN6UHI Boomerang! (1947)]], [[ASIN:B000B8384Q Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)]], etc.) has featured a VERY high average bit-rate, along with an EXCELLENT picture (for a DVD) and, at a minimum, good to better-than-good sound.
See the other reviews for more detail and/or other opinions regarding the plot of the movie.
VIDEO: 1.33:1 • B&W • 480p • MPEG-2 (9.3 Mbps)
Within the confines of the DVD format, this film exhibits VERY good, to — on frequent occasions — excellent, picture quality; due, in part, I'm sure, to a MUCH higher than average bit-rate than is normally used for a 4:3 (1.33:1) B&W catalogue title. Also, Fox Home Video doesn't state on the box that this movie has been restored or remastered, but it surely looks like it — because, artifacts such as black specks or white dots are nearly non-existent; and, I saw very few hair-lines, nor do I recall seeing any dropped frames. In addition, sharpness and detail (for a DVD) are usually very good — with the textures and patterns of most hair-styles, clothing and furnishings being easily discernible. Lastly, contrast and gray scale (again, for a DVD) are VERY good overall, and in many scenes, even excellent. This DVD looks so good, in fact, that I am definitely NOT disappointed about NOT having the blu-ray version.
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dual-Mono, 192 Kbps)
Fox Home Video has apparently also done some clean-up work on the film's soundtrack, because there are no loud bumps nor objectionably high levels of hiss. Also, dialog is very clear and all voices are easily understood. However, dynamic range is very limited, and there is not much bottom-end nor any top-end to speak of (which makes the musical score and the Foley work all sound a little 'thin', and somewhat less than realistic). Otherwise, considering the age of the source elements and the fact that this is a monophonic, dialog-driven movie from the mid-1940s, its audio presentation has more than acceptable sound quality.
EXTRAS: Audio Commentary with Film Noir Historian Eddie Muller and Dana Andrews' daughter Susan Andrews
Production Stills Gallery
Unit Photography Gallery
Fox Noir Trailers: The House on Telegraph Hill, No Way Out
None of the extras were reviewed.