The Black Angel

Dan Duryea is a quintessential film noir actor, whose best remembered films include Scarlet Street, Woman in the Window, and Kiss of Death. This Universal production was an attempt to attain true star status for Duryea, and it came close, despite complaints from the trade press that the film (as a good film noir) was “somewhat sordid” and “rather unpleasant.” Based on a Cornell Woolrich novel, the story focuses on the efforts of a woman (June Vincent) to clear her husband, who is charged with murdering a blackmailing blonde. A few meager clues lead her to a down-at-the-heels vaudeville entertainer (Duryea), whom she enlists in her search for the murderer. A completely forgotten film, The Black Angel proved quite a revelation when we unearthed it for showing last September, after a long campaign finally succeeded in convincing Universal that they in fact owned the rights to this film, and had a print! In its cinematography by Paul Ivano, The Black Angel stands as a near-masterpiece of noir/expressionist lighting.

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