Black Angel (1946)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Black Angel is not one of the landmarks of film noir, but it has a number of elements worth commenting on. These include a fairly original pay-off in terms of the identity of the killer, as well as a central unrequited love plot that is handled with considerable finesse. The most unusual element, however, is the casting of Dan Duryea as a fairly likeable romantic lead. While the part still calls for a certain darkness to it, Duryea, usually cast as a heavy, comes across as winning and engaging; certainly the audience ends up rooting for him, even as it feels uneasy trying to push him into the arms of a woman determined to be faithful to her wrongly-convicted husband. June Vincent is fine, if a little distant, as the would-be love interest; although she' occasionally too bland, she does resist the temptation to make more of the character's relationship with Duryea. Angel does drag in a few places, and director Roy William Neill could have done more to create tension and atmosphere, but the film is still effective and quite enjoyable.