Edwin L. Marin – Johnny Angel (1945)


RKO Radio’s Johnny Angel was adapted by Steve Fisher and Frank Gruber from a short story by Charles Gordon Booth. In one of his better performances, George Raft plays sea captain Johnny Angel, who doggedly pursues the no-good rats who murdered his father and swiped a shipment of gold bullion. Along the way, Johnny crosses paths (and words) with Lilah (Claire Trevor), the faithless wife of his boss, and French stowaway Paulette (Signe Hasso), apparently the only witness to the murder-hijacking. Aiding and abetting Johnny is philosophical cab driver Celestial O’Brien, engagingly played by songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.

A ghost ship emerges out of the fog: bullet-holes, overturned chairs and broken photographs point to a perturbed past. The world of Johnny Angel is very noir indeed. Raft plays Captain Johnny Angel, who’s out to avenge the murder of his father, but gets only bland sympathy from the babyish Gusty, his father’s boss. Trevor, as Gusty’s scheming wife, is playing a shady game of her own, while French girl Paulette (Hasso) is hunted by an unknown killer and trusts no one. They all inhabit a closed world, where even pastoral idylls reek of claustrophobia and obsession. The men struggle against the towering shadows of their fathers, the women are dangerously enigmatic, and the docks of New Orleans glisten under the diffuse light of a single street-lamp. Even Hoagy Carmichael sounds eerie singing ‘Memphis in June’. There are no black diamonds, but Johnny Angel glitters like one.

— Time Out.


Subtitles:Russian (muxed)

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