|Mavis is about to be murdered.|
The film opens with an elaborate tracking shot up the side of a high-rise into the apartment of singer Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling). Mavis augments her income via blackmail, so it's not surprising when she winds up murdered. The police arrest Kirk Bennett (John Phillips), one of her blackmail victims who had recently ended an affair with Mavis. Despite his pleas of innocence, Kirk is found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to die.
|A smiling Dan Duryea.|
|Catherine gets the safe combination from Marko.|
I'll avoid any plot spoilers here, but will note that Black Angel sports a clever twist, too. However, it may not come as a surprise for discerning viewers. The film provides a pretty good clue right from the outset. In retrospect, the twist negates a large portion of the movie, a tactic that you may find oft-putting. For me, the payoff was worth it.
Dan Duryea gets to play a sympathetic protagonist for once. He teams well with June Vincent, a good actress who spent most of her career working in television (she guest-starred on Perry Mason five times). Alas, the always enjoyable Peter Lorre has little to do as Marko.
|Martin is smitten with Catherine.|
Sadly, Roy William Neill died of a heart attack at age 59. Black Angel indicates that Universal was perhaps considering him for bigger movies. Instead, this interesting film noir represents his swan song.