The Tarnished Angel
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An added Faulknerian touch is an alcoholic reporter, Burke Devlin Rock Hudson , who throws away his job on a local paper to instead study the sick phenomenon that is Roger Shumann.
TARNISHED ANGEL: THE DIARIES OF GEORGE KUCHAR | SFAI
Roger was so unwilling to take responsibility for anything but his flying, that he won the right to marry the pregnant LaVerne with the toss of a coin. Not since the pre-Code days was a Hollywood movie so explicit about a sordid, but believable relationship tragedy. The main characters of Angels are as socially unglued as circus freaks, improvising their morality as they go along. The expected dramatic tension in aviation stories is usually over which will end up with the leading lady.
Although that angle is here, the story dynamics actually pivot around the haunted fighter pilot Roger Shumann.
A golden boy deprived of his former status, Rogers pursues his mad glory in the sky, with both LaVerne and Jiggs surrendering their personalities to assist him in his mania. One is erected on the beach and another out in a New Orleans lagoon.
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The planes bank almost to 90 degrees as they pass the towers, sometimes brushing against them. One wreck propels a pilot at us as if he were shot out of a cannon, dashing him against the ground at mph.
Like Billy Wilder, Douglas Sirk was attracted to aviation themes. The cast has one major problem: a miscast Rock Hudson.
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For everyone else Angels might be a career-best movie. Robert Stack is a perfect fit for the tightly-wound Roger Shumann, a man with haunted eyes and a rigid inability to be honest with his beloved enablers crazy show-biz family. Jiggs loves LaVerne and may be the father of her child — but he loves Roger more and can somehow live with them both in a screwy broken triangle relationship. Teams Honor Guard Irregulars Pyramid.
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