Steve G 💚’s review published on Letterboxd :
I decided to start this project a few days earlier because I haven't watched much that was any good recently, and I figured this would be a good way to fix that.
And it certainly was. By all accounts a relatively quiet to start this project, Otto Preminger's noir is based less on murderous schemes and more on one of the most reluctant love triangles that has perhaps ever been committed to film.
Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell strike up a bizarre sort of love / marriage pact where he promises her marriage and a house, and at no point does she show any interest in him nor his scheme, although she accepts the proposal. Andrews doesn't seem to like her all that much either on occasions, making them a fascinating couple. You couldn't even say their relationship was love / hate, it's more apathy / hate.
Noirs were and are very often based around the idea of a drifter character, yet I can't think of many where such a character was so convincingly portrayed and written. Everything Andrews does and says portrays a character just looking for any chance he can in life, in the hopes it might lead to something that he might end up appreciating. He does get it too, just not in the way he's expecting - and from another character, Alice Faye, just looking for something to cling to.
It's quite bleak in that regard, with very little hope or happiness in anybody in Fallen Angel. It's convincing and subtle, seemingly untroubled by what seems to be expected of this sort of film. Preminger was no stranger to downbeat stories hiding beneath a seemingly more crowd-pleasing veneer and, thanks in part to a trio of superb performances, he expertly explores every avenue of another one right here.