Angel Face (1952)



Genre: Drama Crime Film-Noir

Starring: Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear (1962); The Night Of The Hunter), Jean Simmons (Spartacus; Guys and Dolls)

Directed By: Otto Preminger (Exodus; Laura)

Overview: An ambulance driver with a dream finds himself taken for a ride at the hands of a sultry young love.


Robert Mitchum was one of the versatile, deep-voiced, handsome but not 'too nice' guys working in Hollywood. He's got one of those faces I just sort of recognized from stuff I couldn't quite remember. Then I looked him up - 137 projects.  He's in at least 2 of the Top 250 on IMdB's best films ever list. If you're like me, you haven't given this guy enough of a chance.  Get on it... the dame's great too.
Rating: 8


The lowly ambulance driver goes from coffee joint to high society house chauffeur.  If it's one thing I appreciate about 50s films, it's the cars... ooo but the perfect hair is a definite plus... and the dainty gloved hands holding cigarettes.  Yeah, this has definitely got the look.  On top of it all, there's a couple shocking and surprisingly graphic scenes, especially if you consider the era. 
Rating: 8


Jean's character is a little whiney...alright she's a lot whiney, but what 17-year-old isn't? The focus of the dialogue tends to stay deep in the character building, which is nice since the plot elements are well laid out: man wants to start up a dream garage, man sees an opportunity, man plays the game to get what he needs, man finds himself in a pickle because high society girl is just a little weensy bit psychotic.
Rating: 7


What I liked best about this film is the way our hero predicts the things that are happening to him as they escalate to a head.  He isn't even particularly infatuated with the women in his life, even though they drag him into awkward places.  He isn't driven by lusty passions. In fact, his blasé attitude is what brings him to drive the women to do what they do.  It's a tale that's all too believable. Unrequited love is grand isn't it?
Rating: 8


The more I watch Film Noir, the more I learn about the many fruitful uses and consequences of slapping.  Slapping is turning out to be my favourite Film Noir feature. I'm also getting really very good at calling it right before it happens.  I called it in Angel Face, I called it in Breaking The Waves (even though it's not Noir), and the more I see it, the more I like it.  I think the best slapping is man-on-man slapping, it's just so dehumanizing. Angel Face may not be full of backhands, but it's perfect Noir cannon.
Rating: 8

 It is rather 'doux', isn't it?
It is rather 'doux' of a visage on her, isn't it?

Overall Rating: 78% (Worthy Of Some A-'Doux')

I just read that the scene where Mitchum gives Jean a slap was re-shot over and over to the point that Mitchum got sick of it and went over to the director, slapped him in the mouth and asked "Is this how you want it done!?" Preminger asked producer Howard Hughes to fire Mitchum.  Guess he didn't get quite what he wanted.  It's nice to have a man going around slapping girls only when it's art.  I like that.  It has a certain... nobless.

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