by guest writer
Angel Face (1952) is an unconventional American film noir directed by Otto Preminger. Filmed in Beverly Hills and having as background the intrigues within a wealthy family, Angel Face goes beyond the usual melodrama and noir genres. Instead, we are introduced into the psychological complexity of the characters, a touch that reminds us of Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945). Frank Jessup (Robert Mitchum) falls for Diane Tremayne (Jean Simmons) in what will prove to be a story of a doomed destiny. With uncredited script written by Ben Hecht, the film reaches the height of suspense and occasionally slips into violence only to emphasize the shocking reality. Dimitri Tiomkin’s original music keeps the viewer on the edge as the unpredictability increases. Another great aspect is Harry Stradling’s cinematography that uses the fine chiaroscuro to deliver one of the best films noir in cinema’s history.
photo: still from the film / credit: RKO Radio Pictures