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Angel On My Shoulder Blu-ray Review

“Angel On My Shoulder” cleverly blends genres.

Directed by Archie Mayo, “Angel On My Shoulder” revolves around a gangster named Eddie Kagle who is fresh out of prison. Alas, his freedom is short-lived when his pal/partner in crime Smiley betrays and murders him. The story doesn’t end there though as Eddie’s soul winds up in hell. After kicking up a fuss, the Devil takes notice of him. He confronts Eddie (although Eddie has no clue it’s the Devil) and makes a deal with him. The deal? Eddie can get revenge against Smiley and, in exchange, he must sully the reputation of a respected Judge who just happens to look like Eddie. After arriving on Earth, Eddie takes over the Judge’s body, but instead of reverting to his criminal ways, he finds himself falling for the Judge’s fiancee Barbara. Can Eddie change his outlook on life?

Written by Harry Segall and Roland Kibbee, 1946’s “Angel On My Shoulder” is a fun genre blending movie that is ahead of its time in many ways. Sure, there had been “deal with the devil” stories before, but this one adds in film noir, fantasy, afterlife, body swap, romance, courtroom drama and crime-drama elements. It sounds like a wild mix, but it works well together thanks to the tight script and assured direction. Yes, the body swap element is creepy with Eddie in the Judge’s body falling for Barbara (who is already engaged to the Judge), but I think the ending and the general theme of goodness validates that aspect to a degree.

‘Angel’ boasts a fine cast that consists of Paul Muni (in dual roles), Anne Baxter, and Claude Rains. Muni is a bit over-the-top as the Eddie persona, but that extreme behavior benefits the story and to contrast the Judge’s personality. Baxter doesn’t have much to do but is fine in the role. Claude Rains definitely steals the movie as the Devil. The actor seems to relish being evil.

Note: Viewers have the option of playing the movie with or without the Matinee version (which includes the 2 extras).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 4:3 1080p. How does it look? The film has received a 4K restoration from the original 35 and 16mm film elements. Despite some print defects such as lines, this is largely a beautiful B&W print.

Audio Track: PCM Mono. How does it sound? There are noticeable pops and crackles, but this is still a quality Mono track.

Extras include a DVD copy, a Paramount Noveltoons titled Cheese Burglar, and a short film titled “The Adventure Parade: Wing, Claw, and Fang!”

October 6, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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