The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Film Noir and the Femme Fatale

Posted on | June 22, 2011 | 5 Comments

For the second consecutive night, insomnia struck and I found myself watching the 1952 film noir classic Angel Face. This RKO release had it all — produced by Howard Hughes, directed by Otto Preminger, screenplay by Ben Hecht — and the dynamite starring duo of Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons.

Film buffs can argue over the merits of various actors, but for my money no one beats Robert Mitchum as the classic noir protagonist. He’s just got that jaded, cynical tough-guy thing down cold. And what’s a film noir thriller without a dangerous dame?

As the stepdaughter heiress Diane Tremayne, Jean Simmons provides just the right mix of alluring innocence and evil obsession. Not as sexy as Jane Russell (who starred opposite Mitchum in such noir classics as His Kind of Woman and Macao), Simmons nonetheless has a certain doll-faced beauty that works perfectly in this role. And what a role it is! Perhaps someone more thoroughly familiar with the noir genre can name a more purely evil female character, but certainly Diane Tremayne is one of the most wicked femme fatales of all time.

Given the success of Against All Odds, the 1984 remake of the 1947 noir thriller Out of the Past, I’d suggest that someone in Hollywood should consider the possibility of remaking Angel Face — and considering the film’s shocker ending, maybe get M. Night Shyamalan to direct it. You could call the remake Don’t Let That Crazy Bitch Drive!  Here’s the original trailer:


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