Angel Face (1953) Robert Mitchum And Jean Simmons In Noir Slap And Tickle

Turn on the flashing lights and crank up the siren. Fasten your seat belt and get ready for crazy lady alert. This review is for the slick noir drama called Angel Face (1953)

What’s going down?

The police have arrived. An unconscious woman is found in her mansion high up in Beverly Hills California. It’s revealed that the lady has suffered gas poisoning. The flame to her heater had been either blown out or just left open. Was the woman suicidal or had someone in the house tampered with the appliance? The cool, handsome ambulance driver Frank arrives at the scene to do his thing. As he leaves, he’s greeted by the victims young stepdaughter. She’s hysterical. He slaps her, she slaps him back. Like a normal lady of noir she falls for this strong and forceful man. He happens to be engaged. She decides to stalk him. He’s OK with it. She has an angel face with crazy eyes. What could possibly go wrong?

The main players

Robert Mitchum – Frank Jessup
Jean Simmons – Diane Tremayne
Mona Freeman – Mary Wilton
Herbert Marshall – Charles Tremayne
Barbara O’Neil as Catherine Tremayne
Kenneth Tobey as Bill
Leon Ames as Fred Barrett

Tagline – NAKED DRAMA as fierce and unashamed as the crime that gave it birth!

Sure I’ve seen them in something?

London lass Jean Simmons plays the beautiful young girl whom could possibly be, a little disturbed. The first time I believe I saw Miss Simmons would of been in the Powell & Pressburger classic Black Narcissus (1947) where she played the stunning Indian young dancer, Kanchi. However it wouldn’t be until I re-watched it last year that I became aware that it was actually her. Her dance in the colourful elaborate hall is absolutely gorgeous to watch. She will be of course most known for playing Varinia alongside Kirk Douglas in Spartacus (1960) and sandwiched in-between Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra in Guys and Dolls (1955). Apart from these I haven’t seen that much else. So you know what to do in the comment section please….

Robert Mitchum! Not really any point saying too much about him apart from he’s awesome, like everyone knows. I’m slowly working my way through his filmography and enjoying every minute of it. Expect more Mitchum’s arriving on my film blog in the forthcoming future. Here’s a few I’ve featured so far. His Kind Of Woman (1951) with Jane Russell and Vincent Price. Crossfire (1947) with Robert Ryan and that seventies one you have to see if you haven’t already The Yakuza (1974). It’s masterpiece in my eyes.

TAGLINE – “FASTER! FASTER! FASTER!…. He thrilled to her lying lips… yielded to her whispered promises… plunged into the trap her love had set for him!”

Notes on production?

Now this is where things get even more interesting. That slap mentioned above is reported to have caused a big upset. Director Otto Preminger ordered Robert Mitchum to keep slapping poor Jean Simmons across the face in repeated takes. Alarmed and frustrated, it said that Mitch turned around and slapped, with force I can only imagine, Preminger “Is that the way you want it?“. Ready to burst, he demanded Howard Hughes, the producer, that Mitchum be replaced! Luckily Hughes refused and Robert and Otto carried on.

Howard Hughes had his own issues going on with Jean Simmons. He had purchased her contract without her knowledge some years before and it was soon to run out, freeing her to work else where. Before the production started she cut off her hair, knowing full well that Hughes loved his leading ladies, like Jane Russell, to have long luscious hair. She’d hoped he wouldn’t want her and her contract would pass on by. Nope! “Stick a wig on her Otto and I’ll give you a bonus if you get the film finished before her contract expires“. Otto got it done.

Hits like a sledge hammer

I know I’ve mentioned it a few times, it’s hard not to. Especially when this section is called what it is?

The sound of controllable wailing! “Stop it!“…… slap. She looks shocked for a few seconds. Then SLAP! She fires one back with force. “Now look the manual says it’s supposed to stop hysterics, it doesn’t say a word about getting slapped back!” Those eyes of her’s light up. “I’m sorry“… “It’s alright forget it. I’ve been slapped by dames before. Next time see if you can pull that punch a little better.” He begins to walk off….. She looks on transfixed. Smitten. It starts!

It’s not really a spoiler as it’s right at the very beginning of the journey. Don’t worry I won’t even mention what else may or may not happen! Just be assured it’s also sledge hammer worthy.

Frank –I’m not accusing anybody. But if I were a cop, and not a very bright cop at that, I’d say that your story was as phony as a three dollar bill.

Verdict

This picture is super moody and filled with high intensity. All coming from Jean Simmon’s magnificent performance. Each lingering shot of her face reveals another level of unhinged cracks. Robert Mitchum is his usual cool self, wandering from one scene to another popping a cigarette into his mouth. To be honest the dude has a pretty saucy girlfriend waiting for him in her underwear but like any good noir doofus they just gotta go for those crazy ones.

Considering that Otto Preminger had to race through this project he still manages to fit a hell of a lot in. There’s even time for some court room drama. The night scenes are specially great with the classic noir lighting and mood. It’s at times haunting, has a flash of the outlandish and that feeling, that good noir gives, are we headed down that doom-laden path? It’s very recommended. Cheers Todd again for the great nudge.

Rating score

Wolfman’s rating 9/10       IMDB 7.3/10

Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf

PS This new WordPress Block Editor is an arse! How’s everyone else getting on with it?

14 thoughts on “Angel Face (1953) Robert Mitchum And Jean Simmons In Noir Slap And Tickle

  1. Ha, that’s great…”like any good noir doofus”…no better way to describe the men of film noir! Thanks for the mention, and I’m glad you liked the film…I’m probably due for a re-visit myself. Man, I just love that story of Mitchum slapping Preminger…it never gets old. And if you by chance have the DVD with the Eddie Muller commentary, it’s worth a listen!

    And by the way: I tried the block editor, hated it, and have been using the old editor ever since.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do need to pick up the DVD for the commentary. Will keep an eye out for it. I can only imagine it brilliant. I’ve watched the Noir Alley intro and outro he does for TMC on Yt. A wealth of information.

      Not sure if I’m right in saying this. Have you tried writing a post recently? As I’m not sure you can revert to the classic editor anymore! Each time I tried it took me back to the new one. Sure to be a learning curve but man its hard enough do what I love in the little time I got not alone having to navigate that confusing block thing! Sure I’ll get used to it. 🙄

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      • Hmmm, now that you mention it…I’ve been writing exclusively on my baseball blog for the past few months, and the ‘new’ editor I tried and disliked there was new maybe a year or two ago…the one you’re talking about sounds like a more recent new one, which of course I haven’t tried on the Monolith blog yet. My last post there was just that quick Christmas greeting, so maybe I need to go give the site a look, and see what’s up.

        Thanks for the heads up…and don’t worry, there was no problem at all with you mentioning this to me…I appreciate it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I just checked my site…everything editor-wise is the same as it’s always been…the ‘old-style’ editing layout I’ve used since I started the blog. If you’re interested in getting back to this classic version, and I can help or guide you in some way, let me know!

          Liked by 1 person

          • After my panic and slight frustration of battling my way through the block editor yesterday and a tad annoyed I couldn’t seem to be able to revert it back. I now know with your calming wisdom that it must still be possible to go back to the old ways. As simple as going to the admin home page clicking on the >Post >add new downward arrow icon and selecting classic editor. Have you ever heard the sound of an old style kettle boil with a whistle? well that noise was coming out my ears yesterday. Now a warming silent breeze escapes out as the gears and cogs slowly turn and the colour returns to my face.
            Thanks buddy 🙂

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  2. Another checkmark on the old Mitchum Noir list. Jean Simmons is always an angel in these eyes thanks to falling for Verinia as a young teenage boy. Just wanted to switch places with Kirk and live happily ever after.
    Great behind the scenes stories so glad you shared some of those. Hughes had money and yes it’s powerful but he was a nut job.
    Elmer Gantry with Jean Simmons and Burt Lancaster is a classic.
    Should I assume you’ve seen Out of the Past? Or how about Farewell My Lovely? Must see Mitchum stuff.
    Keep them coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saw Elmer Gantry in my teens, never knew it was Jean Simmons at the time starring alongside Burt. Time to revisit that one.
      Yes I seen Out of the Past with Kirk and the sexy Jane Greer. Superb film.
      You know what I have Farewell My Lovely but still not seen it. It’s one of the early films to get put on my to watch list and unfortunately got stacked with a thousand other films on the list. Nice nudge bro. Just placed it near the top. Gonna watch soon.
      PS love reading you would of loved to have changed places with Kirk and lived happily ever after with Verinia 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I too have been meaning to rewatch Farewell My Lovely and the follow The Big Sleep. Recently picked them both up on blu ray so on my to do list. Currently accomplishing one of my goals here in the movie room this year. I’m half way thru the miniseries Winds of War that Mitchum stars in at the head of a decent cast. Never tire of watching my choice for the King of Cool.

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  3. My favorite part: “He happens to be engaged. She decides to stalk him. He’s OK with it.”
    LOL
    God, I haven’t seen Spartacus since I was a kid, I think. And I just received the nasty surprise JUST this past week that Kirk Douglas passed away last month. Where was I?! Not that Kirk Douglas knew I existed, but…you know. We know these names and live with these names our whole lives, don’t we? It’s almost like family. A weird, secret family that you never met but somehow still love….
    That poster IS great.
    And…not sure about the new WP editor. I may be using it. I may not be. Mentally, I’m in the technological dark ages………

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  4. I so love the French poster. I love Mitchum he had a great career he did all the great well almost film noir. Nice review.

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  5. Weird little movie! Not great, but very interesting. BTW, I’m a huge fan of Jean Simmons. She is always great! In my humble opinion, Elmer Gantry contains her best screen work — she is brilliant as the Evangelist who falls for the title character. I also loved her in The Big Country (one of my favorite westerns). She was a great Ophelia in Hamlet (1948). And Simmons (and Barbara Stanwyck) were terrific in the TV miniseries Thorn Birds.

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