In Black Angel, from 1946, there is a veneer of pulp entertainment hiding a chunk of despair. As in The Blue Dahlia, a naughty woman is murdered, albeit here a betrayed wife (June Vincent) strives for the exoneration of the luckless husband who did not do it. Dan Duryea is persuasive as an alcoholic Mr. Ordinary who joins and falls for the Vincent character. Circumstance and Time, in that order, start leaving people rattled. That justice gets done hardly gives rise to bright conciliation.
Adapted from a Cornell Woolrich novel, fruitfully directed by Roy William Neill, Black Angel has no wonderful climax—and is nearly too simple—but is still provocative and agreeable. I like a movie where a woman (Vincent) asserts herself against a man (who means her no harm) in a normal manner and is then necessarily sympathetic to him. It’s smarter than what we get from today’s movies.