Angel Face | Chicago Reader

Angel Face

This intense Freudian melodrama by Otto Preminger (1953) is one of the forgotten masterworks of film noir. Jean Simmons, beautifully blank, plays the ultimate femme fatale, a rich girl who seduces her beefcake chauffeur (Robert Mitchum) when daddy (Herbert Marshall) resists her advances. The film is a disturbingly cool, rational investigation of the terrors of sexuality, much as Preminger's later masterpiece Bunny Lake Is Missing is a detached appraisal of childhood horrors. The sets, characters, and actions are extremely stylized, yet Preminger's moving camera gives them a frightening unity and fluidity, tracing a straight, clean line to a cliff top for one of the most audacious endings in film history. With Mona Freeman, Leon Ames, and Barbara O'Neill. 91 min.

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