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720 Ratings

The Tarnished Angels

Directed by Douglas Sirk
United States, 1957
Drama, Romance


In this spectacular adaptation of Faulkner’s Pylon, Roger Shumann is a disillusioned WWI ace eking out a living as a barnstorming pilot/parachutist during the early 30s. New Orleans newspaperman Burke Devlin meets Shumann at a two-bit carnival and becomes fascinated with his fall from grace.

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The Tarnished Angels Directed by Douglas Sirk
A bleak and even apocalyptic tale, it lightens up only slightly by the end. Our audiovisual essay analyzes a central scene 40 minutes into the narrative, and also refers both backward and forward in order to show the film’s richly elaborated logic of part and whole, repetition and stasis, drama and entropy.
May 07, 2018
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Could this movie ever have been as great anywhere else, with any other collaborators on both sides of the camera? And again, it is especially Sirk’s command of the intimate moments that most elevates it—the way Malone walks across a room as Laverne and Burke (Hudson) talk about her Nebraska youth and Cather’s My Antonia, the light catching her so poetically.
April 09, 2018
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Right away I start detaching a bit from the tawdry carnival atmosphere and the way Sirk prefers to use it as a signifier of decadence and death: the film hints at the corrosive viewpoint that would emerge further in IMITATION OF LIFE. My real problems begin as Malone starts narrating her past with full dramatic inflection, as if she were more full established as a character than she is, or as if she’s hurrying the drama along.
December 24, 2015
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