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Old 05-22-2005   #1
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Angel Heart

ANGEL HEART (1987) Directed by Alan Parker. Starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet and Charlotte Rampling. Haunting music score by Trevor Roper. This movie is a cross between the film noir and horror genres. It has been referred to as occult noir.

Set in the 1950s, a down-on-his-luck private investigator named Harry Angel is hired to find a missing person: a crooner by the name of Johnny Favorite. The blood-drenched trail leads him from New York to New Orleans and into the world of the occult.

This film caused some controversy when it was released, because Lisa Bonet, who then starred in the Cosby Show, was in a few risque scenes. But that is not the only reason I like it. I think it effectively blends hard-boiled detective fiction and horror to make a memorable supernatural thriller. Take Sam Spade and throw him into FAUST and this is what happens.

Based on the novel FALLING ANGEL by William Hjortsberg. This novel was selected by writer William F. Nolan for the book HORROR 100 BEST BOOKS. He called it "One of the best horror novels of the century." It was also highly praised by Stephen King. Both the novel and the movie are equally good. I regret that some of the scenes in the book were omitted from the movie; but in some ways, I think the movie is better than the book.

The movie is very atmospheric and full of great dialogue.

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Old 05-23-2005   #2
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Re: Angel Heart

This is an excellent movie indeed..although in here it was only released a poor DVD version.The novel will surely never be published.
The brazilian title is kind of shocking, "Satanic Heart".
They always do that in here, exaggerate the title with the excuse of avoiding confusion, no matter how stupid the alteration sounds.
Robert de Niro is an effective villain, he has this menacing aspect and yet he remains classy.
The sex scene is also wicked, one of the few horror movies in which the sex scene fits perfectly and really adds something to the movie.Most of the time (Clive Barker movies comes to my mind as I think about it) it is just an useless filler.
Speaking about Clive Barker, hes also tried a fusion of noir/horror with the movie "Lord of Illusions", an adapatation of one of his stories in the superb books of blood.The movie (and the story) are OK.

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Old 05-23-2005   #3
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Re: Angel Heart

I loved that Hjotsberg's book. Some years ago it used to be my favorite novel. Its a fantastic mixture of horror and detective story.

When I saw the film I was a little bit disappointed. It was like a totally different experience. I guess im not very pleased with Alan Parker's approach. One thing I liked about it was Robert de Niro's appearance (really cool).

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. I regret that some of the scenes in the book were omitted from the movie
Me too...

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Old 05-23-2005   #4
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Re: Angel Heart

I'm definitely a fan of Angel Heart as well. One of the things I like best about the film (beyond De Niro's wonderful performance) is the invocation of the city of New Orleans as a character in the film. Anyone who has been to New Orleans in July knows how oppressive the humidity can be, and I think Angel Heart does a great job of using that to heighten the tension of the story. None of the characters is ever really able to feel comfortable, and it just seems to get worse as the story unfolds, with the city wrapping the characters in an unwelcome embrace.

One of the few films I've seen that really managed to incorporate the setting into the story on more than a visual or historical level. When I watch the film, I seem to feel that blanket of heat and humidity enveloping me, and it's not a pleasant sensation.
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Old 05-25-2005   #5
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Re: Angel Heart

I liked this movie a lot when I first saw it in the late eighties. I have more mixed feelings about it now... De Niro is great (the scene when he eats a boiled egg, saying that an egg often symbolizes the soul, comes to my mind), but I think, like most Alan Parker's movies, it has aged a bit... It is not always very subtle in its characterization. But it definitely has its great moments, (I've never been to New Orleans, but it sure is probably the best character in the film!) and the story is really good.

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