Class film noir gets new life with restoration

Black Angel

Some of my younger readers probably can’t believe humanity only had three channels on television when we were growing up. And believe it or not, during my preteen years — televisions showed only in black and white.

Movies seldom made it to the small screen in those days. If you wanted to see a movie like Black Angel, you’d have to go to the theatre.

My friends at Arrow Video have brought this mystery film back, fully restored on high definition Blu-ray. It’s still black and white but the story is what will hold your attention.

When the beautiful singer Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling) is slain in her chic apartment, the men in her life become suspects. There is Martin Blair (Dan Duryea, Scarlet Street), her alcoholic musician ex-husband, nursing a broken heart; there is the shady nightclub owner Marko (Peter Lorre, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon) who has been sneaking around her place, and there is Kirk Bennett (John Phillips), the adulterer who found his mistress's dead body and fled the scene. When Bennett is convicted and sentenced to death, his long-suffering wife Catherine (June Vincent) joins forces with the heartbroken pianist Martin Blair to uncover the truth...

The film was directed by Roy William Neill (best known for his 11 Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone).

It’s adapted from a novel by the acclaimed crime writer Cornell Woolrich (Phantom Lady).

Included is a new audio commentary by the writer and film scholar Alan K. Rode and there are optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

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