The Tarnished Angels

Screening on Film
Directed by Douglas Sirk.
With Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone, Robert Stack.
US, 1958, 35mm, black & white, 91 min.

Adapted from William Faulkner’s Pylon and considered by the author to be the best film realization of any of his novels, The Tarnished Angels is set in New Orleans during the 1930s. Reuniting the cast from director Douglas Sirk’s previous film, Written on the Wind, the film stars Robert Stack as a World War I ace who works as a carnival flier, Dorothy Malone as his parachute-jumper wife, and Rock Hudson as a newspaper reporter who looks on as Stack’s unhappy family fights a battle for survival. Through the film’s striking black-and-white CinemaScope camera work, Sirk’s preoccupation with the space of interpersonal relationships has never been more clearly or dynamically expressed. The illusion of freedom afforded by flight stands in stark contrast to the hobbled, earthbound concerns of Sirk’s characters. As German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder succinctly noted: "I have rarely felt fear and loneliness so much as in this film."

Part of film series

Read more

Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: A–Z

Other film series with this film

Read more

Close Encounters:
Reverend Edward Mark