We watched Otto Preminger's Fallen Angel Saturday night and for the most part enjoyed it. I'd never liked it that much but for some reason this new viewing showed me why so many people like it even though, overall, I'm still doesn't quite work for me.
Dana Andrews as a bitter, angry failure is an interesting aspect of his melancholy persona. His lust for the gorgeous but deceptive Linda Darnell shows him at his most vulnerable. Despite all her obvious lies his obsession remains constant. Only after she's murdered does he begin to understand what she really was.
Alice Faye, Charles Coburn and Percy (Pa Kettle) Kilbride are uniformly excellent even though the script never gives them anything but stereotyped dialogue to work with. The actors were able to find meaning in their parts for themselves.
The whodunit works right up to the final revelation when it becomes clumsy and rushed and way too contrived.
The picture belongs almost entirely to Preminger and Andrews. Preminger gives us noirish sequences that occasionally rival the work of John Alton and Andrews gives us a grinding self-loathing commonr to many of the films that came out after the war.
The score by David Raksin is brilliant.