Fallen Angel (1945): Preminger’s Small-Town Film Noir, Starring Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, and Alice Faye

Otto Preminger directed Fallen Angel as a follow-up film noir to his hit Laura, in the previous year, which also starred Dana Andrews and, of course, Gene Tierney.
Kicked off a bus traveling cross-country for not being able to pay his 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 meets June Mills (Alice Faye), a wealthy but reclusive woman, and also courts Sella (Linda Darnell), a sexy waitress at the local diner. Thanks to Madley,
Wen Ellis and the professor pull up stakes after a successful engagement, Stanton stays behind, hoping to win Stella, a gold digger who has no interest in Stanton unless he has money.
Stanton then plans to marry June, take her money, divorce her, and get Stella. Stanton and June marry, but suddenly Stella turns up dead.
Mark Judd (Charles Bickford), a retired cop-turned-detective, is investigating the murder. The initial suspect is Dave Atkins (Bruce Cabot), Stella’s ex-boyfriend, but soon Judd becomes suspicious of Stanton.
Stanton flees Walton for San Francisco, with June, but he quickly abandons her after taking her money.  However, he returns to her when June is charged with Stella’s murder.
Fallen Angel marked a change of pace for Alice Faye, who was known for Fox’s big-budget and lavish musicals. However, she was unhappy with the way Preminger edited her performance, a good deal of which was simply cut out.   In fact, Faye was so disappointed with the experience that she quit screen acting altogether and didn’t appear in another film for 17 years–until “State Fair,” in 1962.
Twentieth Century Fox
Directed by Otto Preminger
Script by Harry Kleiner
Running time: 100 Minu
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