The Tarnished Angels


Action / Drama / Romance


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October 09, 2013 at 09:18 PM



Rock Hudson as Burke Devlin
Robert Stack as Roger Shumann
Troy Donahue as Frank Burnham
William Schallert as Ted Baker
720p 1080p
704.22 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 31 min
P/S 1 / 4
1.24 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 31 min
P/S 0 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ccthemovieman-1 8 / 10

Tarnished Angels is a great film

Even though I haven't seen this movie in quite a while, it's ironic I would write this review shortly after viewing "Written On The Wind" for the first time recently. "Ironic" because of the main actors star in both films: Robert Stack, Rock Hudson and Dorothy Malone, and both films were directed by Douglas Sirk.

Personally, I thought this film was far more interesting than the more well-known WOTW. This was a better story.

Dorothy Malone, for one, looked a heckuva lot better in this movie. She had some classic beauty and shows it here more than the trampy role in the other film.

I also preferred this film because it had some fascinating and dramatic flying scenes, things I have never seen before on film. Apparently, they had these 1930s air races in which planes few around pylons, almost like a horse race on land. This is the only film I've seen that pictured.

Another thing I enjoyed was Hudson's dramatic story at the end of the movie which, at first, seemed ridiculously melodramatic but was said so well that I found in very compelling, and it tied the whole story together.

I also appreciated Malone doing the right thing at the end, telling off Hudson for coming on to her, since she was a married woman. This is one of the few films - including those in the 1950s - in which adultery is NOT treated mater-of-factly.

Reviewed by Michael Bragg ([email protected]) 6 / 10

A slight departure for director-extraordinarre Douglas Sirk

Although Douglas Sirk was Universal's house director in the mid-late 1950's turning out glossy soap after glossy soap (1954's "Magnificent Obsession", 1955's "All That Heaven Allows", 1959's "Imitation of Life"), he took a slight diversion with "The Tarnished Angels". Besides being in black and white, this actioner is much less sudsy than Sirk's other films of the era. Using the prinipal players from his 1956 epic soap "Written on the Wind", he creates a fast-paced melodrama following the adventures of a family of airplane stunt people and the reporter who is drawn into their world. Robert Stack is Roger Shumann, a stunt pilot, Dorothy Malone is his beautiful parachutist wife, and Rock Hudson is Burke Devlin, the intrigued reporter.

Roger is devasated when he crashes his prized plane, so another pilot(Robert Middleton) makes Roger a deal. He'll give Roger his plane in exchange for Roger's wife,LaVerne(Malone). Meanwhile, a used and abused LaVerne falls for Burke. There's not much here at all by way of plot. In fact, the film is really dull in that aspect. But what gives this movie legs are the brilliantly directed action sequences(some of the best ever captured on celluloid)and tremendous performances from Stack, Malone, and Hudson. Malone is especially amazing, following up her Oscar-win the previous year for "Written on the Wind". Mediocre film, interesting especially to Sirk fans.

Reviewed by zetes 9 / 10


Let's get this straight right off the bat: I have read William Faulkner's novel Pylon, and Douglas Sirk's cinematic adaptaion of it, Tarnished Angels, lives in the original's shadow. Pylon, which for some reason is the only Faulkner novel currently out of print, is one of that glorious author's best works. Still, the film is an excellent achievement. The story's power may be a bit lessened, but Sirk's direction as well as the performances of Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone, Robert Stack, and Jack Carson make up for it. And while the plot suffers from reductions, the dialogue, much of which, I'm pretty sure, was not in the novel, is very good. The best scene in the film is Rock Hudson's drunken and passionate speech in the news room near the end of the film. In the novel, the equivalent of that speech is found in a garbage can. The final image of the novel is of the newspaper editor reading Burke Devlin's impassioned, prosaic description of the final pylon race. It's a perfect ending for a novel, but the screenwriter here was right in putting those words, or at least the idea of those words, back into Devlin's mouth.

Tarnished Angels is equal in artistic accomplishment to the other great Sirk film I've seen, Written on the Wind. Both star Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, and Dorothy Malone, but there is a big difference between the two. Written on the Wind is a florid melodrama, the kind that Sirk was famous for. The colors are almost psychedelic, and the level of melodrama makes it feel like the world is about to end. Tarnished Angles is filmed in black and white, and, while it is melodramatic, it never feels like it's going over the edge. Sirk plays it at a level where you can feel the desperation of the characters (the novel, which isn't as prudish (the film, of course, was made under the Hayes Code), depicts a level of loss and desperation that is simply murder; the ending of the film, which I wouldn't exactly call happy, is a hundred times less depressing than that of the novel). But, unlike in Written on the Wind, it never seems like Sirk is laughing at or making fun of the characters in Tarnished Angels. It seems like he meant this film to be an honest adaptation of a great novel. He succeeded quite well. 9/10.

PS: The Criterion Company recently released Written on the Wind and All That Heaven Allows on DVD. I beg them to release this one next. The version on VHS is cropped from its widescreen glory, and you can tell. It feels very cluttered and claustrophobic, and often the panning and scanning seem choppy. The opening credits keep the widescreen, and it looks like it might be an even more visually spectacular film than I noticed. I really wish that they wouldn't get my hopes up by holding the original aspect ratio through the opening credits. What I want to see one day is the word "CINEMASCOPE" cropped to "EMASC" at the beginning of a film in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

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