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PARENTHETICAL ANDREWS/PREMINGER NOIR 'FALLEN ANGEL'

Dana Andrews & Linda Darnell splintered by shadows YEAR: 1945
If you look at the filmography of two actresses who play sisters in the Otto Preminger Film Noir FALLEN ANGEL, Alice Faye, as naive June Mills, who's mentored by an older, wiser, more cautious Ann Revere as Clara: Both had prosperous careers in that decade, the 1940's, and then their 50's resume reads like a clean slate...

Sadly, more of a Blacklist for the NATIONAL VELVET Oscar-Winning Revere (who co-starred with Andrews in the lobster-diver drama DEEP WATERS)... But the 20th Century Fox starlet Faye basically quit acting for a long while... Ironically, till she was old enough to be a teenage girl's mother in the remake of STATE FAIR, the original co-starring Andrews... And her career's demise was all because of Otto Preminger's underrated and mostly obscure/unknown Dana Andrews (with Gene Tierney) Film Noir FALLEN ANGEL in-between classics LAURA and  WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS...

Fallen Score: ****
It couldn't be that bad, you're thinking, and it's not... in fact this parenthetical Otto/Dana melodrama is quite good... but Faye's reasons are simple enough, and can be described as the movie is reviewed...

Of the two young ladies between Dana Andrews's wandering con artist Eric Stanton, who stops at a small seaside town because he didn't have enough bus fare to go any further, Linda Darnell really stands out – serving as the pinnacle of this subtle Noir's triangle, a femme fatale who doesn't use or need a gun as her tough, blunt personality is enough to stop the impenetrable Stanton in his mazy tracks...

Marriage can't keep a tiger caged... for long
It's too bad since the best moments are ignited from his resilient and resourceful, clever, street savvy methods, getting in with a pair of charlatans (led by John Carradine) running a Mind Reading sideshow scam – but in the usual Noir template, once the man is dame-smitten, the roaring lion's a purring kitten...

Beer inside, and Linda Darnell
As far as acting and story, while FALLEN ANGEL pales to LAURA and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, it's possibly one of Preminger's best flowing, directed motion pictures: While LAURA relied more on imagery and strategic maneuvers falling in-step with precisely staged editing, the camerawork in FALLEN is a lot more physical, relying on one-shots with a lot going on, and plenty of exterior locales: perhaps even trumping the movie itself, with one long con that can lose the interest of any viewer not paying very close to attention...

Dana Lights Up
The 11th hour desperate would-be score only seems that far into the movie. Actually it's around the mid-point where "poor little rich girl" Faye is taken by the charming stranger about as quickly as he was turned into a sap by Darnell's Stella... They say Alice's best scenes were left on the cutting room floor, and had probably fleshed out not only her character but their (her and Andrews') relationship, because it feels too soon when she agrees to marry him and hand over a wad of cash that he plans to do something else with: having nothing to do with her...

Opening Credits w/ Dana on a bus to nowhere
Obviously irked by the third-billed Darnell stealing the show, it's surprising Faye was surprised in the first place that the bad girl winds up more intriguing than the good one...

It's a B-Movie Melodrama (the term Noir hadn't been invented and wouldn't embody the Thriller Crime genre for decades) and sin always outshines temptation while the temptress is, even with less time on screen, the more spellbinding: Perhaps it's the fact that even when sexy brunette Stella isn't on screen, her presence still haunts through exposition. Even the poster image is telling: Andrews and Faye book-ending Darnell's long legs draped over the title itself...

Dana done with mirrors
She initially wanted to do FALLEN ANGEL because she felt it could have easily become another LAURA, especially with Otto Preminger behind the camera, Dana Andrews co-starring. Well it's anything but. In the Preminger canon ANGEL ranks somewhere in the middle, and Andrews has been a lot more charming and/or smarmy...

Another Fallen Angel poster where Darnell reigns
At times he seems to be going through the motions, and yet the direction weaves around all the actors like a celestial wraith in a lavish stage play — the usual Otto touch given a shot of adrenaline, a cross between Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, and something else entirely....

And there's one character-actor you may not pay attention to since he's been in plenty of movies and is always beyond-capable, and thus taken for granite, but that's for you to find out in a "twist" ending that's both surprising and somewhat of a cop-out in this nearly forgotten entry made slightly above-average thanks to the man behind the lens, which segues us smoothly into...
Dana Andrews in Otto Preminger's FALLEN ANGEL
Dana Andrews wakes up full of confusion in FALLEN ANGEL Dana Andrews
King Kong hero Bruce Cabot cowers to Charles Bickford in Fallen Angel
Dana Andrews and Alice Faye take a small town stroll in Otto Preminger's FALLEN ANGEL
Dana Andrews and Alice Faye's beachy date in Otto Preminger's FALLEN ANGEL
As a woman's portrait is shown, familiar LAURA music is heard... from when he's by that portrait
Linda Darnell in one of the greatest bad girl entrances in the history of Film Noir: that sexy, skanky slouch
Alice Faye goes out on a date with the worldly Andrews, where bourbon "tastes like soap"
Dana tells her she didn't learn to play Bach in one day: Bourbon grows on you, baby
Turns out he walked them out of the movie North Winds... must've been worse than Skidoo
"Satisfied there's nobody HERE?! Now BEAT IT!" Linda Darnell, Dana Andrews, Fallen Angel
We learn of Dana and Alice Faye's marriage not through exposition, but birthday cake
Pacing the cage, nearing the portrait as similar LAURA portrait dreamlike music plays
Married and caged, Dana Andrews pours a drink, a FALLEN ANGEL
"You talk different, sure, but you drive like all the rest." Linda Darnell to Dana Andrews, Fallen Angel
"You're an expert, Mr. Stanton... You know the exact value of a man's word against facts." Fallen Angel
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