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Black Angel (Universal Noir Collection)

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

When a beautiful hard-boiled blackmailer is murdered in her swank apartment, there are any number of men who might have done it. There's Martin Blair (Dan Duryea), the drunken husband she's dumped; there's shady nightclub owner Marko (Peter Lorre); and there's Kirk Bennett (John Phillips), who was cheating on his wife with her. It's Bennett who was spotted at the crime of the scene, and it's his long-suffering wife, Catherine (June Vincent), who sets out to save him from being executed. Suspecting Marko, she teams up with Blair to perform in Marko's club and investigate. Suspense - and romance - follow as this taut murder-mystery winds its way through a maze of clues to a first-rate surprise ending. Strong performances and stylish atmosphere result in edge-of-your-seat entertainment and one of "the 25 most memorable cult films" (Andrew Sarris, Village Voice).


Special Features

  • Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre, Broderick Crawford
    • Directors: Roy William Neill
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: French, Spanish
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
    • Run Time: 81 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00023P4G0
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,791 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Black Angel (Universal Noir Collection)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    79 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Tesi on June 17, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape
    This 1946 memorable noir boasts a fine cast that includes: Peter Lorre, Dan Duryea, June Vincent, and the stunningly beautiful Constance Dowling. Based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich and directed by Roy William Neill, Black Angel's storyline hinges on the elements that comprise many noir classics. Murder, blackmail, deceit, and a race against time to prove a desperate man's innocence are the essential plot elements that propell Neill's film through the uncertainties of urban darkness. Cheating husband Kirk Bennett (John Phillips) is wrongfully convicted of murder and is sentenced to die in the electric chair. This time it is a woman, Kirk's wife Cahterine ( June Vincent) who intensifies the murder investigation. As Kirk's execution date draws near, Catherine instills the help of an alcoholic songwriter, Marty Blair (Dan Duryea). Blair is the ex-husband of the murdered woman ( Constance Dowling). The unlikely pairing uncover a trail of clues that lead them to a swarthy night club owner named Marko ( Peter Lorre). Great performances by all actors highlight the picture. Lorre is excellent as the shaddy club owner who is being blackmailed. June Vincent as Catherine gives an admirable performance as she attempts to balance emotional distance and closeness with the rejuvenated Marty. But it is Constance Dowling as Mavis Marlowe who devours her screen time with vampish presence. Mavis exudes sexual danger as a pretensiously concieted singer who lives in a posh high-rise apartment surrounded by trinkets that reaffirm her beauty and status. Why Dowling never achieved the same screen stardom as actresses such as: Lauren Bacall, Barbara Stanwyck, or Rita Hayworth is mystifying. Maybe that is why films such as Black Angel are worth viewing over and over again.
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    23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. VINE VOICE on July 26, 2004
    Format: DVD
    The housewife with no police experience conducts an amazingly more thorough investigation into her husband's guilt or innocence than the cops do, but aside from that hard-to-swallow fact, this is a pretty good film noir that delivers solid performances, a well-developed but still easy to follow story (unlike a lot of noirs that seem to make it a point of honor to confuse viewers at least a little), and a satisfyingly twisty close. The DVD features a nice print of the film and a trailer in much better shape than most of the trailers included on DVDs of 1940s movies.
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    30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dave on August 6, 2004
    Format: DVD
    While this isn't in the same league as "Double Indemnity" or "The Postman Always Rings Twice" it's still a great way to spend a rainy night! Dan Duryea, who usually had a supporting role as a sinister villian, gets top billing this time & really plays a sympathetic character who just wants to know who killed his wife. Add great support from Peter Lorre & June Vincent & you've got a very entertaining murder mystery. The plot is never terribly exciting but there's a great twist at the end that makes it well worth watching. For film noir buffs I recommend adding this gem to your collection.
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    37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on November 9, 2004
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Within the last ten years or so, I've really come to appreciate films of the `noir' period, so I was pleased to see a couple of the major studios cracking their vaults and releasing some to DVD. The snappy dialogue (including all those wonderful euphemisms), the immaculately dressed characters (who do you know who dresses `to the nines' to go out and buy a newspaper or pack of cigarettes? Unfiltered, of course...), the bleak atmosphere, scheming mugs, cynical tough guys, and beautiful, yet dangerous, dames...it's a world rarely defined in terms of black or white, but various shades of gray, where very little is as it seems...

    Black Angel (1946), directed by Roy William Neill (his last film before his death), who did a handful of the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes throughout the 40's, stars Dan Duryea (Scarlet Street, The Flight of the Phoenix) and June Vincent (Trapped by Boston Blackie). Also appearing is the ever lovable, bugged eyed Peter Lorre (Casablanca) and J. Edgar Hoover look-a-like Broderick Crawford (New York Confidential).

    After the murder of a particularly nasty woman with a penchant for extortion (as we find out later), Catherine Bennett's (June Vincent) husband Kirk is fingered for the crime, since he was the last person witnessed going to the woman's apartment (woo woo), but, as we saw, she was already dead when he got there (hey Kirk, nice job of getting your grimy fingerprints all over everything in her posh apartment...did you really have to pick everything up, including the gun? Knucklehead...) Catherine knows he's innocent, of the murder at least, and feels she must learn the truth, as the great, whopping pile of evidence pointing towards Kirk, aka Mr. Touchy, has scheduled an appointment for him in the gas chamber for a crime he didn't commit.
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    11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nix Pix on July 6, 2004
    Format: DVD
    A sexy singer, an ex lover and a dutiful wife: classic film noir lover's triangle tinged with a race against time and singed in sparkling performances from a stellar cast. In "Black Angel" femme fatale chanteuse Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling) turns up dead. Kirk Bennett (John Phillips) who used to be her lover seems the natural choice for the police's prime suspect and their latest blackmail victim. No one believes Kirk's story - it is a little hard to swallow - that he found Mavis already a goner on the floor of her apartment. However, when Kirk is sentenced to death, his long-suffering, too-good-to-be-true wife, Catherine (June Vincent) begins to investigate the crime for answers of her own. She's aided by Martin Blair (Dan Duryea) Mavis' husband. The film is riddled with rich curiosities of character; Kirk's philandering innocence, Mavis' evil vixen turned victim, Catherine's never wavering devotion to her wayward hubby and Blair's nonchalant, noncommittal dedication to discovering who really killed his wife. At one point Blair even goes so far as to offer himself as Kirk's replacement, should salvation not come in time to spare him from the electric chair. It must be love! An outstanding cameo comes by way of Peter Lorre as Marco, the always spurious, never to be trusted seedy nightclub owner who happened to visit Mavis Marlowe on the night she bought the farm. It should be pointed out however, that the suspense of finding the killer gets somewhat diffused in the process and never quite reaches the par excellence caliber of say, "The Asphalt Jungle" or "Laura."
    Another solid effort from Universal.The gray scale is very well balanced with deep solid blacks and whites that are almost pristine. There's a hint film grain and some age related artifacts.
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