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Monday, May 3, 2021

Angel Face (1953)

An ambulance driver (Robert Mitchum), who has dreams of owning his own auto shop, meets the pretty stepdaughter (Jean Simmons) of a wealthy woman (Barbara O'Neil) who was almost killed by gas. Although involved with another woman (Mona Freeman), he can't help but fall for the girl's charms, not knowing she's a homicidal sociopath. Directed by Otto Preminger (LAURA), this film noir is highly regarded by fans of the genre and it's easy to see why. With her sweet face, who would think of casting Simmons as a mentally unhinged murderess? But like the consummate actress that she is, Simmons gives a marvelous performance barely concealing the rot under a seemingly guileless personality. As the "hero", Mitchum's character is a bit of a dishonest jerk especially in his treatment of the loyal Freeman. One of the darkest of noirs, the movie has one of the most shocking endings in the genre's history. Alas, Preminger was so brutal toward Simmons in the making of the film that she couldn't even get herself to watch it because of the bad memories it conjured up. With Herbert Marshall, Leon Ames, Kenneth Tobey, Jim Backus, Robert Gist and Theresa Harris. 

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