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Friday, November 27, 2015

The Tarnished Angels (1958)

Set in the New Orleans of the 1930s, a newspaper reporter (Rock Hudson) wants to write a story about a traveling daredevil barnstorming act consisting of a former WWI hero (Robert Stack) and his beautiful parachutist wife (Dorothy Malone). But he becomes too involved with them, especially the wife, to be objective. Based on the novel PYLON by William Faulkner (who stated this was his favorite of all the films adapted from his books), this is a rich and complex film that gets better with each passing year. Made during director Douglas Sirk's most productive period at Universal, the film serves as a stark contrast to the lush Technicolor palette of his other films like ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, WRITTEN ON THE WIND or IMITATION OF LIFE. Shot in B&W by Irving Glassberg rather than Sirk's usual cinematographer Russell Metty, the film is darker and grittier while still employing Sirk's detailed observations of a trio long past their glory days, people long stripped of their illusions and with nothing else to replace them. The hectic atmosphere of impetuous risks and bruised survivors perfectly done. With Jack Carson, Troy Donahue, Robert Middleton and Christopher Olsen.

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