I think I’ve gotten to the point with film noirs, like musicals and westerns and other special niche genres so populated on the list, that I have to stop and think; gosh, how many more of these can there be on this thing? Then I remember the Book comes with a handy film-by-genre listing in the back, and I can see that I only have a few more noirs remaining. But still, there have been so many, and just so much noir to be had from them, that I’m about fit to burst with it all. Thankfully, there are films like Otto Preminger’s Angel Face, that aren’t straight noirs, but rather shake up the formula just enough to make them interesting to someone like myself that, while enjoying a good noir, has mostly had my fill of them.
Jean Simmons’ character of Diane pretty much completely owns this picture, though Simmons is a little too recognizable a face to be believable as the young, innocent, demure, well-off daughter type. Still, from the very beginning she begins scheming and conniving to do what she wants, get what she wants, and not caring about whatever disaster she leaves in her wake. It became the prime engaging factor in my watching the film, and it easily kept my interest through the rest of the running time. Her opposite in the film is Robert Mitchum, who I can’t watch on-screen without seeing flashbacks of Harry Powell, so this was a bit of a hard one to watch for that reason. He does do a fine job here, if nothing overly remarkable; really that’s the film in a nutshell: fine, but not overly remarkable, aside from the lead female character, and that was more of a personal like.
Overall, I was pleased with this one, though I don’t know if it really deserved its spot on the must see list. It was good, but nothing about it was overly notable enough to warrant being regarded as something you absolutely must see before you die. I could’ve easily seen this culled from the list to make room for a more promising entry, but if this is what it is, I guess I can live with it. You won’t be too disappointed with this one if you do decide to watch it (at least, I’d hope so), and the investment will pay off in the end for you. It’s an entertaining tale of a young woman with appealing features trying desperately to get everything that she wants, and crashing hard into the cold steel wall of reality as it faces her down. Just like the jury in the court case featured in the film, the decision is up to you.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10