The Dark Angel


1h 50m 1935
The Dark Angel

Brief Synopsis

Three childhood friends are torn apart by love and World War I.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Sep 8, 1935
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Sep 1935
Production Company
Samuel Goldwyn, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Dark Angel by Guy Bolton (New York, 10 Feb 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11 reels

Synopsis

Little Kitty Vane loves both Alan Trent and his cousin, Gerald Shannon, but she loves Alan more, and makes him promise to marry her when they grow up. Even as adults, the three are inseparable, but when England and Germany go to war in 1914, it is still Alan whom Kitty wants to marry, and when the cousins are on leave, Alan proposes. Although Gerald also loves Kitty, he gives them his blessing, but the two cannot marry when the leave is suddenly cancelled. Wanting to be with Alan as long as possible, Kitty spends the night with him before he leaves for France. They go to an inn together without telling anyone, and when Kitty's cousin, Lawrence Bidley, sees Alan, he assumes that Alan is spending the night with someone else. When Gerald learns, Alan still refuses to reveal that Kitty was with him, and the two men become estranged. Gerald refuses to grant Alan a leave in France, and one night Gerald sees Alan apparently die in an explosion. Kitty has sensed Alan's death, and when Gerald tells his feelings of guilt, she reveals that she was the woman at the inn. Gerald does not return home immediately after the war, but when he does, he begins to see Kitty. Meanwhile, Alan has returned to England but is still living under an assumed name. Because he was blinded in the war, he refuses to let his family or Kitty know that he is alive. He becomes a successful writer of children's books and has built an entirely new life. When his friend Sir George Barton visits him in the country, he tells Alan that Gerald and Kitty are engaged when he sees their picture in a magazine because he recognizes them as the same people who were in a photograph of Alan's. When Alan, George and some local children go fishing the next day, they accidentally come upon Gerald and Kitty, who are staying nearby, when Kitty falls from her horse during a fox hunt. Kitty and George don't see Alan, but George tells Gerald about his friend who has kept a picture of Kitty and Gerald and Gerald realizes that the man must be Alan. Gerald and Kitty go to Alan's cottage, but Alan doesn't want their pity, and so pretends that he can still see but does not want to go back to his old life. Kitty and Gerald discover the truth, however, and Kitty goes to Alan, telling him that she never stopped loving him. They embrace and promise to be with each other always.

Cast

Fredric March

Alan Trent

Merle Oberon

Kitty Vane

Herbert Marshall

Gerald Shannon

Janet Beecher

Mrs. Shannon

John Halliday

Sir George Barton

Henrietta Crossman

Granny Vane

Frieda Inescort

Ann West

Claud Allister

Lawrence Bidley

Cora Sue Collins

Kitty, as a child

Fay Chaldecott

Betty

George Breakston

Joe

Dennis Chaldecott

Ginger

Douglas Walton

Roulston

Sarah Edwards

Mrs. Bidley

John Miltern

Mr. Vane

Olaf Hytton

Mills

Lawrence Grant

Mr. Tanenr

Helena Byrne-grant

Ann Fieldler

Mrs. Gallop

David Torrence

Mr. Shannon

Jimmie Butler

Gerald, as a child

Jimmy Baxter

Alan, as a child

Randolph Connelly

Lawrence, as a child

Edward Cooper

Martin, the butler

Andy Arbuckle

Mr. Gallop

Colin Campbell

Vicar

Silvia Vaughan

Landlady at inn

Murdock Macquarrie

Waiter at inn

Holmes Herbert

Major in dugout

Robert Hale

Orderly in dugout

Douglas Gordon

Porter at station

Gunnis Davis

News vendor at station

Harold Howard

Jarvis, station attendant

Bud Geary

Officer at station

Jack Deery

Officer at station

Roy Darmour

Officer at station

Walter Vogler

Officer at station

Carl Voss

Officer at station

Colin Kenny

Officer at station

Montague Shaw

Passenger on train

Clare Verdera

Voice at station

Vesey O'davoren

Voice at station

Albert Russell

Innkeeper

Vernon P. Downing

Men in dormitory

Charles Tannen

Men in dormitory

Frederick Sewell

Man in dormitory

Robert Carlton

Man in dormitory

Phillip Dare

Man in dormitory

Claude King

Sir Mordaunt

Phillis Coghlan

Shannon maid

Francis Palmer Tilton

Chauffeur

Tom Moore

Guest at hunt

Major Sam Harris

Guest at hunt

Doris Stone

Guest at hunt

Louise Bates

Guest at hunt

Audrey Scott

Guest at hunt

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Sep 8, 1935
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Sep 1935
Production Company
Samuel Goldwyn, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Dark Angel by Guy Bolton (New York, 10 Feb 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11 reels

Award Wins

Best Art Direction

1936

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1936

Best Sound Editing

1936

Articles

The Dark Angel


A romantic drama from producer Samuel Goldwyn, The Dark Angel (1935) begins with three childhood friends - Kitty Vane (Merle Oberon), and cousins Alan Trent (Fredric March) and Gerald Shannon (Herbert Marshall). Even as a child, Kitty loves Alan, and as the three grow up and remain close, the love between Kitty and Alan deepens. The two men go off to fight in World War I, and while home on leave Alan proposes to Kitty. Later, he is apparently killed in battle. In fact, Alan is not dead, but blinded. After the war he returns to England, changes his name and starts a new life because he doesn't want to be a burden on Kitty. Meanwhile, Gerald consoles Kitty and she agrees to marry him. Inevitably, the once-inseparable trio's paths will cross again.

The Dark Angel was the second film version of Guy Bolton's play. In 1925, Goldwyn had made the first one starring his new Hungarian discovery, Vilma Banky, and teamed her with his British leading man, Ronald Colman. The Dark Angel had been a huge hit and launched Banky and Colman as a romantic screen team. Ten years later, Banky was a casualty of the talkies, Colman had moved on, and Goldwyn's latest European discovery, the Russian Anna Sten, had been a flop with the public. Goldwyn needed a hit, so he decided to remake The Dark Angel and began looking around for another European actress to turn into a star. He had his eye on the beautiful British blonde Madeleine Carroll, but so did a lot of other producers. Then Goldwyn got a look at the exotic beauty Merle Oberon, and he knew he had found his star.

The Bombay-born Oberon was reputed to be of Anglo-Indian parentage, though she claimed to be a native of Tasmania. She had made her way to England, and after playing bit roles in British films, came to the attention of producer Alexander Korda, who signed her to a contract. She began an affair with the married Leslie Howard when they appeared together in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), and they both went to Hollywood in early 1935. The 1925 version of The Dark Angel had been one of Oberon's favorite films as a young girl, and when she heard that Goldwyn was re-making the film, she lobbied hard for the role of Kitty, and for Leslie Howard as Alan. Goldwyn liked that idea, but Korda was getting offers for Oberon's services from several Hollywood producers. Oberon bombarded Korda with telegrams, letting him know that she wanted to do The Dark Angel, and Goldwyn and Korda finally reached an agreement that would allow her to make two films a year for Goldwyn while she was under contract to Korda. By then Oberon's affair with Howard had ended, so Goldwyn cast Fredric March as Alan, to the dismay of Anglophile director Sidney Franklin, who had his heart set on Howard and felt that Oberon didn't have the acting ability to play Kitty. He was not the only one who was disappointed. Members of Goldwyn's staff felt that Oberon was "too exotic and sexy" for the role, which required a "virginal quality." Yet Goldwyn insisted that Oberon's exoticism could be muted by dressing her simply and toning down her glamour with lighter makeup and softer hairstyles. His instinct proved correct, and Oberon looked sweet and sincere in the film. Her heartfelt performance in The Dark Angel earned Oberon her first and only Academy Award nomination.

British-born Herbert Marshall was a solid choice for the role of Gerald, although at 44 he was 21 years older than Oberon and too old for the young man he played. (New York Times critic Andre Sennwald took note of the age disparity: "You may be mildly astonished to find that the child actors of the early part of the picture, all approximately the same age, grow up into such varying stages of adulthood as the middle-aged Mr. Marshall and the youthful Miss Oberon. It must have been the war.") Marshall had personally experienced the horrors of war - he lost a leg in combat in World War I. He had 20 years of experience on the London stage before he made his first film in 1929.

Goldwyn hired another Hollywood newcomer, playwright Lillian Hellman, who had been working as a script reader, to work on the screenplay for The Dark Angel. Hellman thought the story was "an old silly," but liked the "easy money and easy hours." She grew fond of Goldwyn, later telling his biographer A. Scott Berg, "I think our days together worked well because I was a difficult young woman who didn't care as much about money as the people around me and so, by accident, I took a right step within the first couple of months of working for Mr. Goldwyn." Her next project for Goldwyn would be These Three (1936), the film version of her controversial play, The Children's Hour. She would write several other films for Goldwyn, including the film version of her play, The Little Foxes (1941).

Even the critics who agreed with Hellman's assessment of the story were won over by The Dark Angel. The New York Times' Andre Sennwald called it "A happy adventure in sentimental romance. Lillian Hellman and Mordaunt Shairp have written a highly literate screen adaptation of Guy Bolton's play, skirting all the more obvious opportunities for tear-jerking and overemphasis, and telling the story with feeling and admirable good taste. The photoplay is in the handsome Goldwyn tradition of visual excellence....Both Mr. March and Mr. Marshall contribute their best performances in months, and Miss Oberon, abandoning the Javanese slant of the eyes for the occasion, plays with skill and feeling." Time magazine called it "A literate and tastefully arranged version of the celebrated sob-cinema." And the Times of London added, "The film makes a systematic and often very skillful appeal to those untrustworthy emotions which may suddenly cause the most hardened intellects to dissolve before the most obvious sentimentality." The Dark Angel was a huge success, and inspired Goldwyn to remake two more of his earlier hits, the silent Stella Dallas (1925) and the early talkie Raffles (1930).

Director: Sidney Franklin
Producer: Samuel Goldwyn
Screenplay: Lillian Hellman, Mordaunt Shairp, based on the play by Guy Bolton
Cinematography: Gregg Toland
Editor: Sherman Todd
Costume Design: Omar Kiam
Art Direction: Richard Day
Music: Alfred Newman
Cast: Fredric March (Alan Trent), Merle Oberon (Kitty Vane), Herbert Marshall (Gerald Shannon), Janet Beecher (Mrs. Shannon), John Halliday (Sir George Barton), Henrietta Crosman (Granny Vane), Frieda Inescort (Ann West), Claud Allister (Lawrence Bidley).
BW-107m. Closed Captioning.

by Margarita Landazuri
The Dark Angel

The Dark Angel

A romantic drama from producer Samuel Goldwyn, The Dark Angel (1935) begins with three childhood friends - Kitty Vane (Merle Oberon), and cousins Alan Trent (Fredric March) and Gerald Shannon (Herbert Marshall). Even as a child, Kitty loves Alan, and as the three grow up and remain close, the love between Kitty and Alan deepens. The two men go off to fight in World War I, and while home on leave Alan proposes to Kitty. Later, he is apparently killed in battle. In fact, Alan is not dead, but blinded. After the war he returns to England, changes his name and starts a new life because he doesn't want to be a burden on Kitty. Meanwhile, Gerald consoles Kitty and she agrees to marry him. Inevitably, the once-inseparable trio's paths will cross again. The Dark Angel was the second film version of Guy Bolton's play. In 1925, Goldwyn had made the first one starring his new Hungarian discovery, Vilma Banky, and teamed her with his British leading man, Ronald Colman. The Dark Angel had been a huge hit and launched Banky and Colman as a romantic screen team. Ten years later, Banky was a casualty of the talkies, Colman had moved on, and Goldwyn's latest European discovery, the Russian Anna Sten, had been a flop with the public. Goldwyn needed a hit, so he decided to remake The Dark Angel and began looking around for another European actress to turn into a star. He had his eye on the beautiful British blonde Madeleine Carroll, but so did a lot of other producers. Then Goldwyn got a look at the exotic beauty Merle Oberon, and he knew he had found his star. The Bombay-born Oberon was reputed to be of Anglo-Indian parentage, though she claimed to be a native of Tasmania. She had made her way to England, and after playing bit roles in British films, came to the attention of producer Alexander Korda, who signed her to a contract. She began an affair with the married Leslie Howard when they appeared together in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), and they both went to Hollywood in early 1935. The 1925 version of The Dark Angel had been one of Oberon's favorite films as a young girl, and when she heard that Goldwyn was re-making the film, she lobbied hard for the role of Kitty, and for Leslie Howard as Alan. Goldwyn liked that idea, but Korda was getting offers for Oberon's services from several Hollywood producers. Oberon bombarded Korda with telegrams, letting him know that she wanted to do The Dark Angel, and Goldwyn and Korda finally reached an agreement that would allow her to make two films a year for Goldwyn while she was under contract to Korda. By then Oberon's affair with Howard had ended, so Goldwyn cast Fredric March as Alan, to the dismay of Anglophile director Sidney Franklin, who had his heart set on Howard and felt that Oberon didn't have the acting ability to play Kitty. He was not the only one who was disappointed. Members of Goldwyn's staff felt that Oberon was "too exotic and sexy" for the role, which required a "virginal quality." Yet Goldwyn insisted that Oberon's exoticism could be muted by dressing her simply and toning down her glamour with lighter makeup and softer hairstyles. His instinct proved correct, and Oberon looked sweet and sincere in the film. Her heartfelt performance in The Dark Angel earned Oberon her first and only Academy Award nomination. British-born Herbert Marshall was a solid choice for the role of Gerald, although at 44 he was 21 years older than Oberon and too old for the young man he played. (New York Times critic Andre Sennwald took note of the age disparity: "You may be mildly astonished to find that the child actors of the early part of the picture, all approximately the same age, grow up into such varying stages of adulthood as the middle-aged Mr. Marshall and the youthful Miss Oberon. It must have been the war.") Marshall had personally experienced the horrors of war - he lost a leg in combat in World War I. He had 20 years of experience on the London stage before he made his first film in 1929. Goldwyn hired another Hollywood newcomer, playwright Lillian Hellman, who had been working as a script reader, to work on the screenplay for The Dark Angel. Hellman thought the story was "an old silly," but liked the "easy money and easy hours." She grew fond of Goldwyn, later telling his biographer A. Scott Berg, "I think our days together worked well because I was a difficult young woman who didn't care as much about money as the people around me and so, by accident, I took a right step within the first couple of months of working for Mr. Goldwyn." Her next project for Goldwyn would be These Three (1936), the film version of her controversial play, The Children's Hour. She would write several other films for Goldwyn, including the film version of her play, The Little Foxes (1941). Even the critics who agreed with Hellman's assessment of the story were won over by The Dark Angel. The New York Times' Andre Sennwald called it "A happy adventure in sentimental romance. Lillian Hellman and Mordaunt Shairp have written a highly literate screen adaptation of Guy Bolton's play, skirting all the more obvious opportunities for tear-jerking and overemphasis, and telling the story with feeling and admirable good taste. The photoplay is in the handsome Goldwyn tradition of visual excellence....Both Mr. March and Mr. Marshall contribute their best performances in months, and Miss Oberon, abandoning the Javanese slant of the eyes for the occasion, plays with skill and feeling." Time magazine called it "A literate and tastefully arranged version of the celebrated sob-cinema." And the Times of London added, "The film makes a systematic and often very skillful appeal to those untrustworthy emotions which may suddenly cause the most hardened intellects to dissolve before the most obvious sentimentality." The Dark Angel was a huge success, and inspired Goldwyn to remake two more of his earlier hits, the silent Stella Dallas (1925) and the early talkie Raffles (1930). Director: Sidney Franklin Producer: Samuel Goldwyn Screenplay: Lillian Hellman, Mordaunt Shairp, based on the play by Guy Bolton Cinematography: Gregg Toland Editor: Sherman Todd Costume Design: Omar Kiam Art Direction: Richard Day Music: Alfred Newman Cast: Fredric March (Alan Trent), Merle Oberon (Kitty Vane), Herbert Marshall (Gerald Shannon), Janet Beecher (Mrs. Shannon), John Halliday (Sir George Barton), Henrietta Crosman (Granny Vane), Frieda Inescort (Ann West), Claud Allister (Lawrence Bidley). BW-107m. Closed Captioning. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The Dark Angel was Merle Oberon's first film for Samuel Goldwyn. Ronald Colman, Vilma Banky, and Wyndham Standing starred in a very successful silent version of The Dark Angel for Goldwyn in 1925, directed by George Fitzmaurice (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1208). Most reviews commented that the two versions were equally good. Art director Richard Day won an Academy Award for his work on the picture, which was also nominated in the sound recording category. Oberon received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her performance in the film. Oberon starred in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast version of the story on June 22, 1936.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1935

Released in United States 1935