Angel on My Shoulder (film)

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Angel on My Shoulder
Angel on My Shoulder film poster.jpg
Original theatrical poster
Directed by Archie Mayo
Produced by Charles R. Rogers
Screenplay by Roland Kibbee
Story by Harry Segall
Starring Paul Muni
Anne Baxter
Claude Rains
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Cinematography James Van Trees
Edited by Asa Boyd Clark
Production
company
Premier Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • September 20, 1946 (1946-09-20) (US)
  • September 27, 1946 (1946-09-27) (UK[1])
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Angel on My Shoulder is a 1946 American fantasy film about a deal between the Devil and a dead man.

The film was an independent production, produced by Charles R. Rogers and David W. Siegel, directed by Archie Mayo, written by Harry Segall (who also wrote the screenplay for Here Comes Mr. Jordan and the play Heaven Can Wait) and Roland Kibbee, and released by United Artists. The film was Mayo's last before his retirement.

It starred Paul Muni, Anne Baxter and Claude Rains. The producer changed the original title, Me and Satan, when he concluded that the public would not see a film about the Devil.[2]

Plot[edit]

Upon release from prison, gangster Eddie Kagle (Paul Muni) is killed by his partner in crime, Smiley Williams (Hardie Albright). Kagle ends up in Hell, where "Nick" (Claude Rains) offers him a chance to escape hell and avenge his own death in exchange for help with a problem. Kagle looks exactly like Judge Frederick Parker, an upright man who is causing Nick distress because he is entirely too honest. Nick fears that Parker may cause him more anxiety in future, as he is running for governor of his state. Nick wants to destroy Parker's reputation and Kagle readily agrees to have his soul transferred into Parker's body.

As soon as Kagle appears as Parker, odd things begin to happen. Kagle pursues his goal with evil intent (though often at cross purposes with the Devil), but everything he does to ruin the judge's reputation somehow results in making Parker look better. Along the way, Kagle becomes acquainted with Barbara Foster (Anne Baxter), the judge's fiancée. He falls in love with her himself, causing him to question his whole outlook on life and eventually rebels against Nick.

Nick presents Kagle the opportunity to shoot Williams but instead Kagle confronts the man with the truth. Shocked and frightened, Williams backs away and falls out an open window to his death.

Exasperated and defeated, Nick takes Kagle back to Hell, leaving Judge Parker in a much better position than before. Nick threatens to make the reformed man's existence even more painful than usual, but Kagle blackmails his would-be tormentor; in return for not revealing Nick's errors in the episode, Kagle requests to be a trustee. Nick has no option but to agree to Kagle's demands.

Cast[edit]

Copyright status[edit]

The film is now in the public domain in the United States, because the producers, Rogers and Siegel, neglected to renew the copyright in 1973. An adaptation of the film was written and produced by Todd Baker around 2004.[3]

Remake[edit]

The film was remade for TV in the late 1970s, with Peter Strauss, Richard Kiley and Barbara Hershey in the lead roles. It was directed by veteran John Berry, as one of several TV movies he made in the 1970s and 1980s. It was first showed by ABC on 11 May 1980.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ First film ad in The Times, 27 September 1946, page 6 - found via Times Digital Archive 2013-08-12
  2. ^ Felice, Carmella (26 November 2006). The Life and Times of Claude Rains. Author House. p. 163. ISBN 978-1425953010. 
  3. ^ Ian Mohr (20 October 2004). "'Angel' back on the table". Variety (Variety.com). Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  4. ^ "Angel on My Shoulder". IMDb. 1980. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 

External links[edit]