Showing posts with label rock hudson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rock hudson. Show all posts

17 August 2013

The Tarnished Angels Masters Of Cinema Blu-Ray Review

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Rating: 12
BD Release Date:
26th August 2013 (UK)
Douglas Sirk
Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone, Robert Stack
(Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)

The Tarnished Angels is a film based on the novel Pylon by noted American writer William Faulker; who in fact wrote quite a few screenplays. Faulkner considered it the only good adaptation of his work he saw in his lifetime. Legendary director Douglas Sirk noted for his Technicolor drenched melodramas and the films normally starring Rock Hudson directed it.

The Tarnished Angels is about the very strange relationship between Roger Shumann (Robert Stack), his wife LaVerne (Dorothy Malone), Roger’s mechanic Jiggs (Jack Carson) and local reporter Burke Devlin (Rock Hudson). Roger is a disillusioned World War I flying ace that is making appearances as a stunt pilot, which also features his parachuting wife. They also have a kid Jack but it’s never clear that if Roger or Jiggs is the father on of the kid. The gypsy like lifestyle of the Roger, LaVerne and Jiggs intrigues Burke Devlin. He wants to do a newspaper piece on it much to the dismay to his editor.

Burke is dismayed by the treatment of his family and especially his wife LaVerne. He gets increasingly more and more attracted to his neglected wife. The key line is when Burke compares Roger, Jiggs and LaVerne as extra-terrestrials to his editor. They are very alien like and can’t form any meaningful relationship even with the ones they love. The film will end in tragedy in a way only true melodrama can.

The film is a slight departure from Sirk’s normally work due to the very contrasty black and white, which Sirk choose to shoot in to the echo the depression era the film is set. It is also perhaps his most bleak and pessimistic film. The film has the characteristic irony that goes though all of Sirk’s finest films. The Pylon, which Faulkner’s novel took its name and the pilots fly around is very overt symbolism of the characters going nowhere. It is brilliantly crosscut with the son Jack flying in circle during a tragic plane clash.

Rock Hudson gives a great performance, as the journo who falls deeply for LeVerne but knows nothing will happen. Rock is always one of the constantly surprising actors of the golden age of Hollywood for proof see Seconds and Giant. The film is also shoot in glorious black and white CinemaScope.

The Tarnished Angels also came out not that soon off one of his most successful films Written on the Wind that shared the same leads with the exception of Lauren Bacall. The film originally was one of his least successful films. The resurgence of his work since the 1970s with directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, John Waters, Todd Haynes and even Quentin Tarantino praising his brand of melodrama. The film has since being re-evaluated as one of his key works.


Ian Schultz