Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Noirsville Bonus Noir TV - Fallen Angels (1993-1995)

An extremely well made American Neo Noir Anthology series that ran from 1993 to 1995 on the Showtime Cable Channel. During 1994 there were no new episodes. It was produced by Propaganda Films whose executive producer was Sydney Pollack. Each episode had a different director. Directors included aphabetically, Peter Bogdanovich, Tom Cruise, Alfonso Cuarón John Dahl, Keith Gordon, Tom Hanks, Agnieska Holland, Tim Hunter, Phil Joanou, Jonathan Kaplan, Michael Lehmann, Jim McBride, Steven Soderbergh, and Kiefer Sutherland.

Each episode was based on the hard boiled short stories of William Campbell Gault (1910–1995), Raymond Chandler (1888–1959), Jonathan Craig (pseudonym of Frank E. Smith [1919–1984]), Jim Thompson (1906–1977), Cornell Woolrich (1903–1968), James Ellroy (1948– ), Evan Hunter aka Ed McBaine(1926-2005) , David Goodis (1917–1967), Bruno Fischer (1908–1992), Mickey Spillane (1918–2006), Walter Mosley (1952– ) and Dashiell Hammett (1894–1961).

The series cinematography was also parcelled out to Emmanuel Lubezki (2 episodes, 1993), Declan Quinn (2 episodes, 1993), Peter Suschitzky (2 episodes, 1993) Robert Brinkmann (4 episodes, 1995), Robert M. Stevens (4 episodes, 1995). The art direction an set design was impressive. Series Art Direction was by Kirk M. Petruccelli (2 episodes, 1993), Lisette Thomas (2 episodes, 1993), Jim Dultz (6 episodes, 1995).  Series Set Decoration by Kathryn Peters (7 episodes, 1993-1995), Kate Sullivan (2 episodes, 1993). The Fallen Angels themes were written by Elmer and Peter Bernstein. The series also incorporated period music and torch songs by various artists.

In Europe the full series was known as Perfect Crimes. In the US the Perfect Crimes title was used for the series in 1995.

Premiering on August 1st 1993, each episode began with the sound of wind that segues into a sensuous sax solo with a dash of piano, with a Black And White "noirconography," montage starting with palm trees framing the Spanish Style clock tower of Union Station Los Angeles, then occasionally silhouetted, a hazy bar, cigarette smoke, bedroom eyes, lipstick lips, martinis, stockings, a nickle plated revolver, a Zippo lighter a flame and a sultry "B" Girl, Fay Friendly (Lynette Walden who looks like a double for Sherilyn Fenn).

Fay Friendly (Lynette Walden)
Fay gives us a Rod Serling-esque introduction relating a hint or teaser of what would transpire in the episode. In the 1995 episodes that duty was performed by Miguel Ferrer. Each episode ran 30 minutes but to be honest they probably should have went for an hour, the short stories the episodes were based, on that I've read, had quite a few more details that were left out and some seem to be truncated. The episodes are in both color and black and white and are shot in a 1.33 : 1 aspect ratio. The Fallen Angels seasons episodes have only been released on VHS. Season two the Perfect Crimes episodes have gotten the DVD treatment.

Episode 1 - Dead End For Delia -

"There's some women out there that can lay waste to hordes of men by the time they are twenty-one... one bat of an eye, one smile at a stupid joke and they guys brain goes as soft as yesterdays ice cream. The thing is that kind of beauty is like a gun with a hair trigger. You got to be real careful how you handle it or someone is liable to wake up dead."

Delia (Gabrielle Anwar)
A dead woman is found at the back alley entrance to Dreamland. A third story warehouse district ballroom that has "hostesses" some are regular working girls who need more income sort of like subcontractor hookers on the side. Doc (Vondie Curtis-Hall) lets the girls be, they bring in customers.

Lt. Calendar (Dan Hedaya), Sargent Kelly (Gary Oldman), Detective Darnes (John Putch)

The dead woman is Delia Kelly (Gabrielle Anwar). She used to be married to a vice detective sergeant Pat Kelly (Gary Oldman).  They've been separated for four years. Pat wants in on the murder investigation of his wife. Lt. Calendar of Homicide (Dan Hedaya) is the lead detective.

Delia's last words were "Tell Pat I'm sorry, tell Pat Lois would know." Calendar asks Pat if he knows what that means, Pat says he doesn't.

Pat goes to visit Lois.


Lois (Meg Tilly)

Delia's dead

Lois tries to come on to Pat but he wants nothing of it

Lois is a ballroom friend of his wife, he's looking for Delia's lover. Lois was one of Pats gal pals before he met Delia. Lois is still in love with him. Lois claims to not have seen her recently, but she gives Pat some cryptic info about a doctor that specializes in feet.

Lois Weldon: You're one of those black Irishmen who can go all to hell over something like this and wind up in the gutter, or you can examine yourself a little closer and realize she was a girl headed for doom since the day of her birth and all you really loved was her beauty

Delia flashback

First meet

The marriage

Pat goes to police headquarters. Pat wants in on the case, he's obsessed with wanting to find his wife's killer, and tries to get a transfer to Homicide. When he gets rejected, he quits the force.

He visits with Steve to get the skinny on what Homicide has turned up so far.

Pat Kelley: Right now I want to know about Dreamland.
Steve Prokowski: I don't know, Pat. You got that look in your eye. I've seen it before. Some body's liable to wind up dead.
Pat Kelley: Somebody already has.

Pat Kelly: Please.....  she was my wife.
Steve Prokowski:  There's nothing to tell. She went there all the time, she danced with a lot of guys, nothing there, just coloreds, zoot suiters, rich kids looking to score a little reefer. One guy was called Helge that mean anything to you Pat? Was there a couple of times drives a smooth red convertible.

Alienated now, he does his own private investigations he flashbacks and remembers that Helge was a composer Joe Helgeson. Pat heads off to the Helgerson's.

Joe Helgeson (Patrick Masset)

From Helge, Pat learns that Delia said that she couldn't go on like this at Dreamland and that she was in love with someone. Pat presses Helge for a name but Delia didn't tell him. He does find out that Delia had an apartment at Empire Court on Hudson. Pat with this new lead takes off.

Empire Court

Leo Cunningham (Wayne Knight)

From Cunningham the building owner, that's him above sticking out of the window. Pat finds out that the apartment was paid in cash every month that came in an envelope from Dreanland. Pat heads off to Noirsville.


Doc (Vondie Curtis-Hall)

The sets and art direction are excellent. Director Phil Joanou, teleplay by Scott Frank based on novelette by same name by William Campbell Gault, DOP Declan Quinn. 8/10

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