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Band of Angels

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Product Description

Band of Angels (DVD)

Academy Award winners Clark Gable and Sidney Poitier star with Yvonne De Carlo in this story of an aristocratic young woman who falls from the heights of Southern society to the absolute bottom--and of the forbidden love that redeems her in A Band of Angels. New Orleans, 1860s. Southern Belle Amantha Starr (De Carlo) is away at an exclusive girls' school when her father dies unexpectedly. She learns she is now penniless: Her father had lost everything--their money, their plantation and their slaves. Worse, the truth comes out that her mother was part African American--and under the law of Louisiana, Amantha must be sold into slavery. She is purchased by plantation owner Hamish Bond (Gable), who soon falls in love with his beautiful new slave--earning Amantha the resentment of overseer Rau Ru (Poitier). When the United States' Civil War breaks out, Bond loses his plantation and reveals to the newly freed Amantha that he earned his fortune as a slave trader.

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Sidney Poitier, in the beginning of his career, fires up the screen in the Civil-War-era bodice-ripper Band of Angels. The movie follows Amantha Starr (Yvonne De Carlo, later on The Munsters), a Southern belle whose fortunes fall when her father dies and family secrets come to light. She ends up under the protection of Hamish Bond (Clark Gable, close to the end of his long, remarkable career and still radiating an easy, charismatic masculinity), a plantation owner with secrets of his own. For much of the movie, slavery and the Civil War are just a colorful backdrop for a turgid romance--but just when you're ready to write the movie off, a scene unexpectedly digs into something more emotionally and politically complex. Poitier plays Bond's plantation foreman; every time he appears, Band of Angels turns into something fierce and promising. That promise never fully takes hold--Clark Gable is the movie's hero, not Poitier--but those crackling scenes (combined with a surprisingly sexual frankness in a 1957 feature) make Band of Angels more than just an embarrassing collection of manly swaggers, flashing eyes, and lugubrious spirituals. --Bret Fetzer


Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo, Sidney Poitier, Jr. Efrem Zimbalist, Patric Knowles
  • Directors: Raoul Walsh
  • Writers: John Twist, Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JP4J
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,467 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Band of Angels" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 103 people found the following review helpful By M. C. Crammer VINE VOICE on June 15, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Band of Angels is a very well-written screenplay about the oddities of race in America. I would have to compare it with "To Kill a Mockingbird" only I think Band of Angels is more thought provoking.
The plot involves a pre-Civil War Southern belle (whose father has sent her to school in the north which should give you a hint) who returns to Kentucky when her father falls ill. She arrives to see him being buried, and immediately afterwards hears first that her father was bankrupt and all the slaves will be sold and then that she herself is the child of a slave woman and therefore she too will be sold. It seems her father had an affair with a mulatto slave and raised the child as if the mother had been white and married to him. He has (somewhat unbelievably) concealed this from his child, who doesn't understand why her mother is buried outside the family cemetery. Our beautifully-dressed belle ends up being literally sold down the river -- she leaves pleasant Kentucky to be sold on a New Orleans auction block. (The further south you got, the worse conditions were: the other slaves are probably going to end up on a mosquito-infested sugar cane plantation and face a much worse fate than she does, but the movie fails to make this point). It's an eye-opener how particularly shocking the slave auction is when an apparently white woman is being auctioned -- which gives a lot of insight into subliminal racism.
Although a bit dated at parts (the music at the beginning, for example, and the scenes with the slaves singing like a choir), this is a very thought-provoking and yet entertaining movie. I highly recommend it.
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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Robin Smith on October 6, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It would be interesting to know how audiences reacted to this movie when it was first released in 1957. I never knew that African slaves got packed into ships like sardines until I saw the miniseries "Roots," yet in this movie Clark Gable reveals the shameful story of how Africans were captured (sometimes with the help of other Africans) and packed into slave ships, and how cruelly they suffered. It is like seeing the other side of Rhett Butler, a very dark side. I don't consider this movie to be so much a romantic story as it is a story about forgiveness and the hope of a new and better era. I never knew that Sidney Poitier and Clark Gable had been in a film together, and it is a treat to see two such great actors confronting each other. Poitier plays his character superbly--he is rightfully impatient for freedom and justice, yet he knows he has to watch his step or else he will be crushed. "Gone with the Wind" seems very shallow compared to this movie.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Epic Diva on April 24, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is great. It is amazing to me that few people even know of its existance. The plot of the movie stems from it's main character Amantha Starr portrayed by Yvonne De Carlo. After hearing that her father is ill, she returns home to her plantation in Kentucky to not only finding her father dead and bankrupt, but also finding out that she is a child of the plantation and will be sold like all the other slaves. She is adamant that this is not true until she sees paperwork that proves otherwise. She is then bought at auction by former slave trader and plantation owner Hamish Bond, played wonderfully by Clark Gable. He doesn't want her for a slave, but for his woman which adds to many other complications, such as the jealousy of another slave that from what the movie hints to is the lady of the plantation. Then there is also one of the best performances that I have ever seen him in is Sidney Poitier as Rarou, a slave on Bond's plantation that he has raised like a son. He is very upset that Starr would deny her African roots and "keep on living the white lie," as she states in the movie. Two of the best scenes in this movie is when Gable explains how he came across Rarou and spared his life from the slave catchers and when Poitier and De Carlo are in the abandoned mansion and he is discussing how could she pretend to be something that she is not. That scene had a climatic ending. Also there is a Sgt. Seth Parsons that is sweet on "Manty" and is trailing her because he too wants to marry her and take her away from her "terrible" life. When she was younger and sweet on Seth he was on his way to being a minister and trying not to delve into the ways of man. Oh how things have changed. If you like the drama of the era of the civil war, you will enjoy this movie. It exposes lots of layers that are seldom seen in such cinematic efforts.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful By master card on January 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is Clark Gable's best movie, aside from "Gone With The Wind". Very sharp acting, great script. A must see! You'll love it every time you watch it. This is one great, great movie!
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 28, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The positive reviews are right-on, including great Civil War era costumes, and scenery of New Orleans.

The negative reviewer obviously did not see this movie, because:

The Clark Gable character was not a rapist.

On the contrary, if anything, the Sidney Poitier character said Hamish Bond killed with kindness.

The woman house servant had only good things to say about Bond.

Amantha Starr did not fall in love with a rapist.

Hamish Bond's revelations at the end may have been melodramatic, drums beating in the background, but the pathetic truth is, the slave trade had its advocates in both races and both continents.

And life under the Carpetbagger occupation had certain hazards, especially for women.

For an interesting twist on the subject, read _River Rising_ by Athol Dickson, set in Louisiana bayous in 1927.

Also, _A Country Such as This_ the re-released excellent novel and social commentary by James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy.
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