Fallen Angel (1945) is an American film noir directed by Otto Preminger and starring Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, and Linda Darnell.
Andrews stars as a grifter hoping to swindle two rich sisters (Faye and Anne Revere) while romancing Stella (Darnell) a diner waitress.
This was director Otto Preminger’s follow-up to Laura released the year before. The cinematography was by Joseph La Shalle, who won an Academy Award for his work on Laura. Also on board for Fallen Angel was David Raksin, who wrote the film score. He composed the music for Laura, one of the most famous film scores in movie history. Last, but not least, Andrews who played Mark McPherson opposite Gene Tierney in Laura, has the male lead in Fallen Angel. Andrews made five films with Preminger, more than any other leading man.
Faye, the musical queen on the Fox lot, was looking to move into dramatic roles. She loved Laura and wanted to star in a similar mystery. As already noted, she got a lot of the same talent that was involved with that film noir classic. When Faye saw the finished film, she felt that the movie emphasized Darnell’s role to the detriment of her own. She was so distressed that she walked out on her contract. Studio boss Darryl Zanuck begged her to come back, promising her roles in prestige films in the planning stages like The Razor’s Edge, but Faye was done. She didn’t return to the big screen until 1962’s State Fair.
Darnell was signed to a contract at 20th Century Fox at age 15. Because she looked older than her age, she worked as a leading lady from the outset, with the studio claiming she was 19. Her role in Fallen Angel helped turn her into a popular pin-up during World War II. In 1944, Look magazine named her one of the four most beautiful women in Hollywood, along with Hedy Lamarr, Ingrid Bergman, and Fox colleague, Gene Tierney.
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|Linda Darnell, Percy Kilbride, Charles Bickford, and Dana Andrews|
Fallen Angel trivia
- Linda Darnell spent a week at the Fox commissary to prepare for her role as a waitress.
- Alice Faye rejected over 30 scripts before choosing the one for Fallen Angel. She hoped it would be another Laura. After seeing a rough cut of the film, Faye felt that her best scenes were cut and Darnell's role was promoted above hers. She was so upset by this that she walked out on her contract and supposedly tossed her dressing room keys to the guard at the studio gate as she drove off the lot.
- This was the second of five films Dana Andrews made with director Otto Preminger. Preminger worked with Andrews more than any other leading man.
- Preminger assembled most of the same crew as the ones that worked on Laura the year before.
- Alice Faye was disappointed with how her performance came off in this film. Do you think she was rash in her judgment?
- Would you consider this film a classic example of film noir?
- Did you have any sympathy for the Dana Andrews character?
- What about Lind Darnell? Was her character all bad or did you find yourself sympathizing with her?
- Do you think the film had a theme? If so, what was it?