Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BLACK ANGEL - Fairchild/Brooks - "I Want To Be Talked About" (1946)

I have a lot of Mexican friends named Angel, but this is the first "Black Angel" I ever met, and if you like an excellent film noir with great music, then do yourself a favour, and track yourself down a copy of this film! I give you my written guarantee that the only regret you'll have, is not having seen it sooner!!

If you live on a steady diet of monster movies, there's a good chance that some excellent actors are going to get missed out on! I don't know, Dan Duryea was never a character who stood out in my mind, but after watching this film, he'll never be anonymous in my brain again! This guy can act! He did have the main role as Al Denton on the "Twilight Zone" episode "Mr. Denton on Doomsday," besides 114 other roles that included 59 episodes on one of the first nightime soap operas "Peyton Place" as Eddie Jacks! In "Black Angel" his character is drunken but very talented songwriter Martin Blair!

June Vincent was the actual reason I searched out "Black Angel" after I watched her killer performance as Marcellina in the recently reviewed "The Climax," and the neat thing is, what a great idea that was! Born Dorthy June Smith, this gal is a keeper!! Her character in this film is Catherine Bennett!

Then when I found out that Peter Lorre was also in "Black Angel," that's when it became a complete no brainer!!! Has Peter Lorre ever been in a bad movie? I sincerely doubt it! And as PC as it isn't, Peter literally smokes his way through this whole movie!

I try to keep this down to about 30 pictures or less, but for this movie I had at least 50 I wanted to use! Is this not beautiful or what?

Martin's ex old lady is Constance Dowling as singer Mavis Marlowe! The only horror film Constance was ever in was "Gog!" Mavis is one of those kinds of people who has her own portrait on her dresser! Mavis is also murdered this night in time!!

Two of the guys that would be seen at the scene that night were Mavis's ex, Martin, and creepy club owner Marko!

Classic "Highway Patrol" Broderick Crawford will be the guy investigating the whole mess! About this same era, my buddy Whitey Thomas and Broderick would go out drinking in Hollywood, and pretend to get into fights with each other just for fun! What a gas! Me and Tabonga did that same thing behind the teacher's desk in the 8th grade, and we got two week's detention for it, not to mention the extra week we got for talking in detention!

Martin was madly in love with Mavis, and had written hit songs for her, but that just wasn't good enough for a woman, who, in the vernacular, would be commonly referred to as a female dog, or a bitch!

Enter into the scene one of Mavis's dumbshit lovers that she was blackmailing, John Phillips as Kirk Bennett! John was on the set of a couple of cool films, as Matt in "Superman And The Mole Men," and as a detective in "Francis And The Haunted House," and "How To Make A Monster!" Murder Scene Rule Number One, if there's a gun, DON'T TOUCH IT STUPID!! Too late!!

Well, you can see where this is going real fast! Kirk Bennet is on a fast track to the death chamber!

Catherine turns to Martin for help, and they conspire together to figure out who killed his ex-wife if it wasn't her husband!

Because Martin also saw Marko that night, and because Marko is a very shady character, they go to his club "Rio's" to check the whole scene out!

It just so happens that Marko is auditioning new acts for his club, so in an effort to get closer to the man, Martin cleverly whips out some new tunes, and lo and behold, Catherine is a great singer too! June didn't really sing in "The Climax," but here it's actually her voice singing the Edgar Fairchild/Jack Brooks piece titled, "I Want To Be Talked About!" Jeez, Edgar Fairchild wrote the classic "I Can't Get You Out Of My Mind," and Jack Brooks is responsible for Dino's classic "That's Amore!" Two songs I just have to think about, and it's just like dropping the needle on a platter!

Apologies to Steve Martin, but compared to the talents of this annoying banjo player, Martin and Catherine's act is an enormous breath of fresh air! The banjo player is Wally Webb in his only big screen appearance!

You almost forgot this was a murder mystery, didn't you? Martin and Catherine are an overnight sensation!!

Martin quit drinking ever since he met Catherine, and he's not feeling too bad about himself right at this moment! Suddenly he's at the top of the world again, liquor cabinet or not!

Reality check! And this is what's so great about this film! The new couple is successful and basically in love, but they cannot forget what the original purpose of their meeting was, to stop an innocent man from being executed!

Besides movies and music, one of the other favourite things we dig down here in The Dungeon is the sweet science known as boxing! And just to prove that tough guys need milk, here's former Middleweight Champion of the world Freddie Steele in the role of Lucky, the manager of Marko's club! I have this conversation every day, MMA fighters are a bunch of wussies compared to the real fighters of the past! Check it, Freddie's record was 125 wins with 60 KOs, 5 losses, 11 draws, and 1 No Contest! That's more grueling fights than 10 or 15 of your best MMA fighters combined! Talk about No Contest!!

Here's a Freddy Steele card from my personal collection!

As Robert Palmer would later say, "Lookin' For Clues," but unfortunately Catherine gets busted! Peter just keeps on smoking! The Big Problem is Marko didn't commit the murder, so all this time and effort spent on trying to get information is for naught!

Such a shame, under different circumstances, it could have been so good!

Catherine remains true to her husband, and Martin returns to the bottle, it's probably one of the saddest love stories on record! Good thing it was only a movie!

Sorry, Time Won't Tell, and neither will I!!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful stills :)

Eegah!! said...

Thanx MM,
It's pretty obvious I really dug that film!

Douglas McEwan said...

Well yes, Peter Lorre was occasionally in some bad movies, but he was NEVER what was bad in a movie. He was always great. But come on, he was in The Story of Mankind, a truly wretched bit of celluloid, though essential as the only movie ever to have Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and the Marx Brothers all in it.

And if only he hadn't smoked like a chimney, we might have gotten 20 more years of movies out of him. He wasn't even 60 yet when he left us.

Eegah!! said...

Wow, you've really piqued my interest now. "The Story of Mankind" had flown under my radar until now, but I don't think that any other film that was ever a candidate for the worst film ever award ever had a cast like that! And for once, you left something out, Don Megowan as Early Man, Francis X Bushman as Moses, Dennis Hopper as Napoleon, Hedy Lamarr, Virginia Mayo, Agnes Moorehead, Cesar Romero, John Carradine, and more! If an ensemble like that stinks, it must stink REALLY bad! Incredible!!

Douglas McEwan said...

Well I could hardly list that entire, huge all-star cast. I have a DVD of it. It's Harpo's only color movie appearance. Price plays Satan, and carries the movie. Dennis Hopper plays Napolon, and his acting style is so radically different from everyone else's that he seems like he's from another movie. (It was the beginning of his long time friendship with Price) Lorre was not a good choice to have played Emperor Nero. It's full of jaw-dropping bad casting choices, beginning to end. It has to be seen to be disbelieved.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Sounds too bad to be believed, I've tracked down a copy, but it comes with this disclaimer, "Only For The Brave." I can hardly wait!

Douglas McEwan said...

Enjoy. It's one of those can't-take-your-eyes-off-of-it train wrecks. Price, fortunately, is all through it, and utterly delightful. They tried to make a DeMille sized-epic on the whole history of mankind (Though with typical Western Culture Chauvanism, it's mostly the history of Europe and America) on a shoe-string budget, so it's BIG scenes are all stock footage from other epics. It's astoundingly terrible, but sickly enjoyable.

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