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Fallen Angel (1945)

Cast: Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, more...
Director: Otto Preminger
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre: Film Noir, Vintage Noir, Crime
Running Time: 97 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Synopsis
Otto Preminger directed this stylish film noir exercise, intended as a follow-up to his surprise hit Laura. Kicked off a bus traveling cross-country for not being able to come up with the fare, down-and-out press agent Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) ends up in Walton, a small coastal town in California. Stanton fast-talks Joe Ellis (Olin Howland) into giving him a place to stay for the night in exchange for promoting Professor Madley (John Carradine), a "mentalist" whose show Ellis manages. While in Walton, Stanton makes the acquaintance of June Mills (Alice Faye), a wealthy but reclusive young woman, and has his eye on Stella (Linda Darnell), a good-looking waitress working at the local diner. Thanks to Madley, Stanton learns a few things about June, and when Ellis and the Professor pull up stakes after a successful engagement, Stanton opts to stay behind, hoping to win Stella's heart. Golddigger Stella makes it known that she has no interest in Stanton unless he comes into a lot of money, but June has made her interest in Stanton quite clear. Stanton hatches a plan: he'll marry June, take her money, divorce her, and then take up with Stella. Stanton and June do in fact marry, but just as he's about to give her the brush-off, Stella turns up dead. Mark Judd (Charles Bickford), a retired cop turned detective, is investigating the murder, and while the initial suspect is Dave Atkins (Bruce Cabot), Stella's ne'er-do-well ex-boyfriend, Judd's focus eventually falls on Stanton. Stanton flees Walton for San Francisco, with ever-loyal June at his side; he quickly abandons her after taking her money, but he returns to her side when word reaches him that June has been charged with Stella's murder. Fallen Angel marked a dramatic change of pace for Alice Faye; however, she was very unhappy with how Preminger edited her performance, convinced that much of her best work ended up on the cutting room floor. Faye was so angry that she quit the movie business altogether and didn't appear in another film until State Fair in 1962. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide



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