Black Angel (1946)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/29/14
Cast: Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre, Broderick Crawford

A swindling nightclub singer is murdered and an innocent man is convicted of the crime. The man's wife, Catherine Bennett (June Vincent), is convinced he's innocent and asks the victim's drunken ex-husband (Dan Duryea) to help her investigate the case. Together, they start poking into the affairs of a suspicious nightclub owner, played by a delightfully shifty Peter Lorre. But it's all for naught. When Catherine rejects Duryea's romantic advances, he goes on a severe drinking binge and the real killer reveals himself.

It's a slow, but mildly entertaining murder mystery that has you guessing right up to the end. While Peter Lorre and police captain Broderick Crawford are wonderful, the two leads are flat and uninteresting. Their romantic chemistry is as unconvincing as their obviously dubbed musical numbers are. While the story features some amusing dialog and a clever twist, the bland and uninspired execution offers little replay value. However, there's one shot worth noting right at the beginning of the film, which is a seamless tracking shot up the side of a building (which is obviously a matte painting) and through the window of the singer's room. It's very nicely done, as are the opening credits, which feature some clever animated transitions.