Hot on the heels of Otto Preminger’s classic Laura came Fallen Angel – a noir that clearly was meant to tap into the former’s success by utilizing several of the same cast members and technical crew. Fallen Angel explores the similar theme of sexual obsession but takes place in a much different setting. Besides exploiting the success of Laura, studio chief Darryl Zanuck wanted to use Fallen Angel as a vehicle for musical star Alice Faye to break into dramatic roles. Her role in the film is overshadowed, however, by the painfully sultry Linda Darnell, who can ruin a man’s life just by walking in the room. The heady brew of sexual suggestion, obsession, and Preminger’s knack for ambiguous characterization make Fallen Angel one steamy walk on the dark side.
WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (1950)
Y’know a movie is going to be hard when it starts with trash floating down a gutter. Ottto Preminger’s Where the Sidewalk Ends has a solid premise – a detective investigating a murder he committed – and one tough as nails leading man, Dana Andrews, best known as the droll cop in Preminger’s Laura. The film addresses typical noir themes such as doomed fate and punishment, all presented in Preminger’s clear-cut style. No frills or excessive visual flair, no social commentary, just a rugged, violent thriller of the streets.
Buckshot will do nasty things to a person’s face. Just ask Laura. It could make them unrecognizable, sparking a murder investigation of the wrong body. Such is the surface plot of Otto Preminger’s celebrated noir Laura. Originally intended to be a play based on Vera Caspary’s novel of the same name, Laura is a classic choking with malice and trickery, played out with slick grace. It’s a murder mystery like no other – one in which every single person (besides the detective) could be the culprit. This means it doesn’t really matter who it is. Does that make sense? Aw hell, just enjoy the ride.