Fallen Angel

7.01 h 38 min2003G
A high-powered Los Angeles lawyer returns to his deceased father's home in Maine where he is reunited with his past. Stars Gary Sinise, and Joely Richardson. From the Hallmark Hall of Fame Collection.
Michael Switzer
English [CC]
Audio languages

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Anne HopkinsCameron JohannLynn RaynorBrent ShieldsRichard Welsh
G (General Audience)
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4.3 out of 5 stars

175 global ratings

  1. 63% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

ChicGeekReviewed in the United States on November 1, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
MOVIE: 4.6 • VIDEO: 4.5 • AUDIO: 2.5
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UPC: 0-24543-22778-6
RELEASED: 2006-03-07

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.

Yeah, right.

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
Publicity Gallery
Production Stills Gallery
Unit Photography Gallery
Theatrical Trailer
Fox Noir Trailers: The House on Telegraph Hill, No Way Out

None of the extras were reviewed.
8 people found this helpful
Todd M.Reviewed in the United States on February 19, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
A good film noir with a good cast… and that’s enough.
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You don’t need a lot of what today’s movie throw in for shock or sex to tell a good story that unfolds to the usual type of ending. It was a good choice for the last movie of the night when our attention span starts to wane there was a nice little mystery woven into it. Don’t expect much from movies of the 40’s because it was probably filmed in a matter of days and was probably part of a double feature in the theaters. A solid cast and a noted director made this one a cut above most of the others from that period.
7 people found this helpful
Gregory MReviewed in the United States on July 22, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
I've always loved this film
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I've always loved this film, as it has a "haunting" quality. Is it the *best* film noir? No, but it is entertaing, and the characters are well - drawn. Linda Darnell plays a poor but sexy hash house waitress, flinging cups of coffee and food with a withering sneer, e.g. "Donut...!!!???" The small - town setting is reminiscent of the previous year's "Shadow of a Doubt", and Ann Revere and Alice Faye are perfectly matched as sisters; famous designer Bonnie Cashin did the costumes, so that is added visual interest. By the way, this movie is the REAL source of the famous line that was attributed to Bette Davis (in "Beyond the Forest"), "What a dump...!!!" Dana Andrews utters it when he and bride Alice Faye enter their sleazy San Francisco hotel room for their wedding night....
7 people found this helpful
MarionReviewed in the United States on January 1, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
Grainy Transfer - Looped Dialogue - Long Set-up
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The story involves a down-on-his-luck PR man who bluffs his way into a handful of money promoting a spiritual medium's appearance in a one-horse town in the central coast of California. A dame catches his eye and he can't keep his plans to move on to San Francisco. After that, the story's momentum changes, even slightly "picks up"...so why the 4 stars? My bias leans in favor of viewing the film, since I am primarily interested in Dana Andrews and his rock-solid performance, which never disappoints - even if the script doesn't work all the way through.
Just a warning to those who find that technical details of a DVD affect the enjoyment of the film... the "print" is scratch-free but has a grainy "low-res"-ness to it that is noticeable. All, or most of the dialogue is replaced (that is, "looped") and has a stagnant, studio sound that is occasionally imperfect in lip synch. On the positive front on things technical, there's a nifty rear-screen projection ocean scene that is impressive.
7 people found this helpful
Elaine CampbellReviewed in the United States on July 28, 2007
5.0 out of 5 stars
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This excellent film deserves to be considered among anyone's list of the best film noir movies ever made. The script is not standardized, so the unexpected is always occurring. There is always a twist in the plot. You never know what is coming.

Otto Preminger's direction is taut, focused and he certainly knew how to get the best performances out of all of his actors. As a follow up to the classic film "Laura," also starring Dana Andrews, he etched his name indelibly on the film noir genre.

David Raksin, who wrote the song "Laura" for the movie of the same name, also wrote the theme song for this film.

And the actors are wonderful. Dana Andrews gives his usual fine performance, turning from a hardened con man into a person who can love. The character actors also carry the film: all of them are magnificent. Anne Revere, Charles Bickford, Bruce Cabot and even Percy Kilbride give three dimensional performances that are awesome.

I mention the two female stars last because the situation was interesting. They are as different as night and day from each other. Linda Darnell, dark, beautiful and smouldering, is cast opposite Alice Fay, fair, serious and loyal. Now Ms. Faye was very angry when she saw the final version of the film, feeling her best moments had been edited out and, although she had no hard feelings for Ms. Darnell, she felt the film focused on Ms. Darnell's performance and kind of left her out, or at least placed her at second string. She did not make another film for 16 years.

I believe that, regardless of the cut scenes, Alice Faye made a perfect, not lesser, compliment to Linda Darnell, and each equally gave sterling performances. Neither played second fiddle to each other. Both of their performances were of very high quality and admirable.

You can't miss with this one. It's really enjoyable to watch such quality film making.
15 people found this helpful
mebReviewed in the United States on July 23, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Review the right movie!
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Several reviews are referring to an old movie with the same name! This one - with Gary Sinise - is absolutely sweet and heartwarming, a real treasure. I especially loved the uncle and the little girl, such wonderful actors. I would watch this again in a heartbeat.
M. DogReviewed in the United States on March 21, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fox be praised!
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One of the great benefits of the "Fox Noir" series, of which this film is a standout, is the remastering/release of the classic 1940's work of the great Otto Preminger. All the four Preminger titles in this series demonstrate what a concise, fluid director he was, easily managing crowd scenes as well as dramatic close-ups with his supple, effortless camera. Also, Preminger had a true talent for zeroing in on an actor, instantly revealing what made them different or unique and allowing them to play up their strengths. Under Preminger's care the star of this film, Dana Andrews, was allowed to fully flower. There was a very moving quality in Andrews, particularly when playing a heel as he does in this one, which always suggested that he had just enough soul and intelligence to dislike himself. This is why he was one of the great noir actors: without a lot of fuss, he could convey a deeply felt need to be a better man than was possible. He was, in short, a very graceful and subtle tough guy.

Briefly told, the theme of this film is sexual obsession. Every principal male player in the film desperately wants Stella, a hash-slinger in a local café, played by the all-too-soon gone Linda Darnell. This, of course, leads to men behaving very badly.

This clearly was a favorite theme of Preminger's, and he never had a better carnal female than Darnell as an object of desire (actually, the emotion all men in the film feel for Darnell transcends desire into the realm of critical need). Darnell is absolutely great and her appeal has held up very well over the 70 intervening years.

The other thing that makes these Fox Noir DVD's so good is the expert commentary that accompanies these discs in the Special Features sections. I know . . .sometimes these commentary tracks can be very hit or miss, but the folks at Fox seemed to take some care in their selection of experts, and I have enjoyed them all. The commentary track for this one is supplied by Noir historian, Eddie Muller, and I found his voiceover very, very good. In fact, things I might say in praise of this film are covered much better by Mr. Muller, so I will let you listen to him for yourself when you buy the DVD. Mr. Muller is a real treasure trove of interesting trivia and worthwhile insights.

This disc also has Dana Andrews' daughter, Susan Andrews, giving commentary. I have to admit with other DVD movies, I have been often disappointed by commentary from family members of famous stars. Not here. Susan Andrews comes across with an easy warmth and depth that really fleshed out her father, Dana Andrews, as both an actor and a man. I found myself hanging on the stories she told, remembering her father.

Lastly, with regard to the digital remastering, Fox has done it right. These classic Noirs never looked better.

Excellent all the way. --Mykal Banta
64 people found this helpful
Douglas MReviewed in the United States on December 17, 2005
4.0 out of 5 stars
Classic noir but pretty heavy going
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This is a film which is higly respected in "noir" cinema but like many films of the genre, it is heavy entertainment. Released in 1945 as a follow up to "Laura", it used a number of the same technicians, the director Otto Preminger and the leading man Dana Andrews.

Andrews plays a drifter who stops at a small town, falls in lust with a waitress, Linda Darnell, and marries one of the town's respected citizens, Alice Faye, for her money so he can run off with Darnell. Darnell is murdered and the remainder of the film follows the discovery of who did it. The film is claustrophobic reflecting the people and small town in which it is set. The main setpiece is a diner. Darnell, who was never better, is brunette, sexy and laconic, lounging behind the counter like a lazy cat. The superficial quality to her acting sits well on this character. On the other side of the counter, a line up of men gaze upon her lasciviously, watching her every move but hiding their eyes under their hats. You can cut the atmosphere with a knife! The juke box plays the theme song "Slowly" and the music is a toneless tease, just like Linda.

Alice Faye, blonde and subdued, is a perfect contrast, a symbol of good but with an undercurrent of frustration which helps explain her attraction to Dana Andrews and why she would marry this stranger. Much of Alice's part was cut by Darryl Zanuck to shift the emphasis to the broody Darnell. Alice was so incensed she walked out of 20th Century Fox for good, never to return. You can detect the holes in her part of the film, particularly in establishing the motivation for her relationship with Andrews, but enough remains so that we get the point. Anne Revere plays Alice's spinster sister and adds a superb vignette of an unfulfilled woman. By the way, Alice is very good too.

Probably the most impressive feature of the film is the overwhelming sense of sexual frustration, a remarkable example of how to suggest sexual desire within the confines of the censorship of the forties. Everyone is on heat, even Alice. All the males in the cast are unpleasant and charmless so the film is pretty depressing. It lacks the entertainment value of "The Big Sleep" or "Double Indemnity".

The DVD quality is first rate, as expected. The commentary is more like a friendly chat between Film Noir expert Eddie Mueller and Dana Andrew's daughter Susan - pleasant listening but lightweight in content. Mueller is completely over the top about Preminger and Andrews - they weren't THAT good! In particular, they seem to read much more into Dana Andrews who actually seems quite wooden to me.

Many of the scenes which were cut can be envisaged by production stills; for example, now I understand why when Andrews meets Faye in the church when she is playing the organ, much of the dialogue is illogical. There is reference to an earlier meeting which clearly was cut from the film, probably a scene outside the church when he was leaving town and clearly visible in the stills. No wonder Alice Faye was upset because what remains in fact does not make sense. There are 2 other scenes between Andrews and Charles Bickford involving physical violence. These two scenes, in particular, might have contributed to a more satisfactory ending. After so much atmospheric character development, the resolution of the murder is somewhat cursory.

For me, Otto Preminger was too heavy handed for this film to gain classic status and the editing has left holes in the plot, as Alice Faye said. Andrews is on record as disliking the film, feeling it was in bad taste and I know what he means.
15 people found this helpful
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