ANGEL (1983)

Directed By: Robert Vincent O’Neil 

Written By: Robert Vincent O’Neil & Joseph M. Cala 

Cinematography: Andrew Davis 

Editor: Charles Bornstein 

Cast: Donna Wilkes, Cliff Gorman, Susan Tyrell, Dick Shawn, Rory Calhoun, John Diehl, Elaine Giftos, Steven M. Porter, Donna McDaniel, Graem McGavin, Mel Carter 

Molly, a high schooler, secretly earns her living as Angel, a street prostitute whose only family and friends are the ones she works with on the streets. She has to survive against a serial killer who is targeting people of her profession.

Part of the charm of the film is watching it years after and quite removed from the time period. So that you can look back at the film as some kind of nostalgic timepiece. As it is a b-movie thriller from a time period. Where certain taboos are explored freely without the film centering around them or being a savior film. So to speak. 

While the film is exploitive as far as nudity and violence. It luckily doesn’t delve into dirty or perverted looking for cheap thrills. Even if it does have plenty of sleaze to it. It treats prostitution more as professional and. It as something for the audience to watch or glimpse as entertainment. 

As the film could have been worse. The film sticks to begin as a thriller with some melodrama thrown in. As it goes more for drama. As we spend a lot of time with the characters including the killer. So that there is no mystery to it. We only wonder when the killer will strike next. While getting to know the victims shortly before their demise. Not to mention the stakes and emotions it brings forth in the characters in these situations. 

After all the characters are what the film has going for it. As all of them are a bit off, but entertaining, interesting, and funny with rich histories that we wonder about but are rarely fully informed of. The film is more devoted to them than occasionally remember it’s a thriller 

As they are colorful and the actors portraying them. Are like their characters survive the spirit of classic Hollywood left around as it deteriorated and is forgotten. 

There is a sweetness to the title character ANGEL. Surprisingly an innocent, hustling and working the streets and leading a double life full of secrets. She has managed to handle it all. Until it all starts to crumble and then she realizes she might be in over when head. Especially when her secrets begin to unravel. Donna Wilkes in the title role does well. It’s a shame she never returned to the role in the sequels. Though considering their quality it was actually a blessing in disguise.

Can see the film as somewhat a little mroe shocking and controversial at the time. This film can also be seen as a look at the street performers of all kinds in Hollywood at the time. As that is the culture the film takes place in. 

The crime element is more basic and entertaining and staged well. Not the most exciting part of the movie. As the film works but it never quite comes alive. It just passes along. 

Where are they now? As they seem to have been left Dick Shawn is more playing an original character. Whereas Rory Calhoun is more playing a version of himself 


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