Black Angel (1946)

Left: UK 2020 Arrow Academy Blu-ray edition; Right: US Universal DVD edition



Film Noir is my favourite film genre and the Pulp Fiction writings of Cornell Woolrich (and with aliases William Irish & George Hopley) are my
favourite readings. So, yes, the highlight of film history and of crime writing history must be the US 1940's Film Noir and Pulp Fiction.
With film masterpieces as Otto Preminger's Laura and Angel Face, Jaques Tourneur's Out of the Past, Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and with
Edgar G. Ulmer's Detour et al. it's my opinion that The American Film Art during these years, with these dark and beautiful tales from The Neon
Jungle reached it's absolute peak. Today, i guess this type of film would be considered un-patriotic and un-american in the new era of McCarthy-ism.
The crime stories from the Pulp Fiction era has become the archetypes for all modern crime, thriller and even action films

The 1943 novel Black Angel was a part of Cornell Woolrich's Black Series and originally published by doubleday & Doran. The famous Black
Series that, may have, inspired the French expression Serie Noir and that later in the 1950's developed into Film Noir describing the film genre.
Novels in the "Black Series" were The Bride Wore Black 1940, The Black Curtain 1941, Black Alibi 1942, The Black Angel 1943, The Black Path of
Fear 1944 and Rendezvous in Black 1948.

The 1989 British Coronet Books edition

Woolrich's novels and stories has been filmatized more than possibly any other crime writer in the world (Stephen King is a horror writer)
and the whole complete list is too long to write here, but some of the filmatizations can be seen below ....

Black Angel:

A great looking and well acted Noir classic where a desperate June Vincent, as Catherine, races against the clock (a staple plot ingredient
with Woolrich) to find the facts that could save and acquit her husband from having killed his mistress.
She gets some assistance from the the murdered woman's ex-husband Martin, played by the genre icon Dan "The Human Weasel" Duryea
and as nightclub owner we get to see legendary Peter Lorre in a surprisingly and effective underplayed role, no bug-eyed antics this time.

UK Arrow reversible sleeve

LA singer Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling) is strangled in her apartment and a male visitor is identified as a Mr. Kirk Bennett, and he
has put his fingerprints all over the place. Kirk (John Phillips) is convicted for murder. But there has been other men at the scene of the
crime, pianist and composer Martin Blair, her ex-husband has been hanging outside her apartment house and also the nightclub owner
Marko has been seen visiting her at the night of the murder.

Kirk's wife Cathy Bennett (June Vincent) teams up with alcoholic Martin as a Nightclub act at Marko's place, singer with pianist, to lurk
around after any proofs of Marko's guilt. And, June Vincent sang all the songs herself, very nice.
Peter Lorre is amazing as Marko, so smooth and likeable, could he be the killer?

According to IMDB Woolrich absolutely hated the film, but other thinks it's one of the best Woolrich adaptions ever made.

June Vincent plays Catherine Bennett in the film, in the novel her name is Alberta Murray, in the novel the murdered woman is named Mia
and in the film she's named Mavis, but the names of Dan Duryea's Marty Blair and the husband Kirk are the same in novel and the film

The Blu-ray presents the film in original 1.37:1 fullscreen ratio, black & white, english 1.0 mono audio and with english subtitles
Extras: an audio commentary by Alan K. Rode, A Fitting End: interview with Neil Sinyard (21 minutes, 2019 Arrow Video) about everything
you would want to know about the film and Woolrich. he's Great, a British Eddie Mueller ? Love him, a Booklet and a reversible sleeve

 

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