Band of Angels
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|Band of Angels|
|Directed by||Raoul Walsh|
|Written by||Ivan Goff
|Based on||Band of Angels
by Robert Penn Warren
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Edited by||Folmar Blangsted|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$2.5 million (US)|
Band of Angels is a 1957 romantic drama film set in the American South before and during the American Civil War, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren. It starred Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo and Sidney Poitier. The movie was directed by Raoul Walsh.
Amantha Starr (Yvonne De Carlo) is the privileged daughter of a Kentucky plantation owner. However, after he dies, a shocking secret is revealed: unbeknownst to Amantha, her mother had been one of her father's black slaves. Legally now property, she is taken by a slave trader to New Orleans to be sold. On the riverboat ride there, he makes it clear that he intends to sleep with her, but desists when she tries to hang herself; as a beautiful, cultured young woman who can pass for white, she is far too valuable to risk losing.
Amantha is put up for auction. When she is callously inspected by a coarse potential buyer, she is rescued from further humiliation by Hamish Bond (Clark Gable), who outbids the cad, paying an exorbitant price for her. Expecting the worst, Amantha is surprised to be treated as a lady, not a slave, by her new owner. At his city mansion, she meets his key slaves, his housekeeper (and former lover) Michele (Carolle Drake) and his conflicted right-hand-man Rau-Ru (Sidney Poitier). Rau-Ru is grateful for the kindness, education and trust Hamish has bestowed on him, but hates him anyway.
As time goes on, Amantha and Hamish fall in love. He arranges to send her to freedom in the North, but she decides to remain with him. To complicate matters further, Hamish harbors a terrible secret from his past that troubles his conscience.
Then, the Civil War breaks out, and New Orleans eventually falls to the Union. Hamish becomes a wanted man when he joins the other plantation owners in burning their crops in defiance. He and Amantha are helped to escape by Rau-Ru, who had fled and joined the Union Army.
- Clark Gable as Hamish Bond
- Yvonne De Carlo as Amantha Starr
- Sidney Poitier as Rau-Ru
- Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Lieutenant Ethan Sears, who falls in love with Amantha, believing her to be white
- Rex Reason as Captain Seth Parton, an old friend from her past
- Patric Knowles as Charles de Marigny, a neighboring plantation owner
- Torin Thatcher as Captain Canavan, Bond's seafaring friend from his past
- Andrea King as Miss Idell
- Ray Teal as Mr. Calloway
- Russell Evans as Jimmee, Bond's steward
- Carolle Drake as Michele
- Raymond Bailey as Mr. Stuart, a plantation owner
- Tommie Moore as Dollie, Bond's house servant
- Roy Barcroft as Gillespie
- Larry J. Blake as Auctioneer
- Marshall Bradford as Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler
- X Brands as Officer
- Robert Carson as Bidder
- Robert Clarke as Auction Participant
- Noreen Corcoran as Young Manty
- Ann Doran as Mrs. Morton
- William Fawcett as Mourner
- Harry Fleer as Aide
- William Forrest as Aaron Starr
- Carl Harbaugh as Seaman
- Jim Hayward as Sheriff
- William Hudson as Officer
- Maurice Marsac as Auction Participant
- Ewing Mitchell as Old Gentleman
- Juanita Moore as Budge
- William Schallert as Union Lieutenant
- Bob Steele as Union Private
- Madame Sul-Te-Wan as Flower Vendor
- Charles Victor as Officer
- Dan White as Trader
- Jack Williams as Runaway
The film received largely negative critical reviews, many of them comparing it unfavourably to Gable's earlier film Gone with the Wind. Bosley Crowther wrote in The New York Times that "all we get is flamboyant melodrama in big, juicy, WarnerColored blobs, with nary a thoughtful reflection at any point in the vast, romantic scene." Robin Karney gave the film a two-star review in The Radio Times, insisting that "this utter tosh strains credibility to the limit and has little to recommend it." Emanuel Levy wrote in 2011, "this entertaining melodrama, directed by Raoul Walsh, bears some thematic resemblance to 'Gone With the Wind', in dealing with issues of race and miscegenation, set against the backdrop of the Civil war."
- "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30
- "Band of Angels". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- Crowther, Bosley (July 11, 1957). "MOVIE REVIEW". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Karney, Robin. "Band of Angels". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Levy, Emanuel (January 2, 2011). "Band of Angels (1957): Gable Stars with Sidney Poitier in Civil War Film, Directed by Raoul Walsh".