Monday, October 03, 2011

Out In The 1950s Crime Noir Night- Robert Mitchum Watch Out For Berserk Femme Fatales, Will You- Angel Face- A Review

Click on the headline to link to Wikipedia entry for the crime noir, Angel Face.

DVD Review

Angel Face, starring Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, directed by Otto Preminger, RKO Pictures, 1952

Some guys never learn, never learn to leave well enough alone, and stay away, far away from femme fatales that have that slightly mad look in their eyes and lust in their hearts, as here in the Otto Preminger-directed crime noir, Angel Face, with Robert Mitchum. See, it is not like Brother Robert hadn’t been down that road before and had all the trouble he could handle and then some with femme fatale Jane Greer in Out Of The Past. Ms. Greer “took him for a ride” six ways to Sunday in that one. But you know when a guy gets heated up by a dame, well, lets’ just leave it at you know, okay. Needless to say Brother Robert is set to get “taken for a ride” six ways to Sunday here too, although the femme fatale here is a little younger, and maybe has better manners. Maybe. But that all goes for naught when the heat rises. Yes, we know, we know.

The plot here takes a little something from James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice. The “fair damsel” (played by a young dark-eyed, dark-haired piano-playing Jean Simmons who, before seeing this film I might have taken a run at her myself, in my dreams anyway. But see I know how to take a lesson), after she gets her hooks into Mitchum, furthers her plot to get rid of her dear stepmother so she can have her father to herself (take that anyway you want but you do not have to be a Freudian to know that she is seriously hung up on her novelist father, a probable cause for some of her youthful, ah, monomania). But unlike the femme in Postman she just “forgets” to tell him he is part of the plan. Of course when the foul deed is done (the old "wire cut on the steering wheel of the car and off the cliff you go, dearie" gag that has been around, well, been around since femmes figured out automobiles aren’t just for driving) the pair are the obvious suspects. But with some razzle-dazzle legal work, including marriage to evoke the jury’s sympathy, they get off. (Ya, I know on that one too. But those were more romantic times than ours, I guess. I want the name and e-mail of that lawyer, by the way, just in case.) Of course what guy in his right mind is going to stick around and see, well, what is in store for him and his lovely bride after the court battles are over? Like I said though, this is Robert Mitchum, the guy who can’t learn a lesson.

Note: Naturally with a hunky guy like Robert Mitchum, he of the broad shoulders to fend off the world’s troubles, or at least any women’s troubles, those smoldering eyes, and that glib world-wary cigarette and whiskey manner, the ladies will surely be flocking to his door. And not just femme fatales. In this film, as in Out Of The Past, there is the “good” girl waiting in wings. And Mitchum tries, tries like hell, to stay in that orbit but when those maddened eyes and ruby red lips call that speak to some dark adventure, well, what’s a man to do?

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