Fallen Angel (Preminger, 1945)
I decided to pull off a little Preminger double-feature. And now after seeing five films from the man, I can safely say he is one of the most consistent directors at putting out very good films. I still haven’t seen a great one from him, but haven’t seen anything close to bad either. Fallen Angel places viewers in the shoes of a drifter who stumbles upon a mysterious beach town by accident. Immediately he begins to promote a divination show (of which he has no prior affiliation with), becomes a regular at the local diner while falling for the enigmatic waitress, and attempts to woo a reputable local lady for her money.
He’s unlikeable and Preminger makes little attempt to draw sympathy towards the man, especially when everything starts to unravel around him. (He becomes an even bigger jerk and you can’t help but wonder why want to continue to watch this guy.) But the aura of the town – the harmonious crashing waves, the dark corners of the alleys and back entrances, even the crispness of the wealthy woman’s luxurious home – and the desperation that oozes out of every cranny makes this a captivating small-town noir. 8.25/10