A Fallen Angel

John Wayne and Gail Russell in Angel and the Badman (1947)

Seriously hurt and on the run, notorious gunman Quirt Evans (John Wayne) ends up at the farm of Thomas Worth (John Halloran), where Thomas' daughter Penelope (Gail Russell) helps Quirt to send a telegram about a land claim before he collapses. Whilst the doctor operates to save Quirt he also warns Thomas and his family they would be better getting rid of Quirt before trouble comes a knocking. As Quirt recovers Penelope, despite her Quaker up bringing starts to fall for him and her kindness rubs off on him as he helps out around the farm and town. But when trouble arrives in town in the form of two desperadoes, Laredo Stevens (Bruce Cabot) and Hondo Jeffries (Louis Faust) tough choices have to be made.

I actually saw the 2009 remake of "Angel and the Badman" before seeing this 1947 John Wayne version and to be honest the 2009 version didn't do much for me. I hoped watching John Wayne along with other old western stars in the original would help make the story more captivating but in truth it didn't. Oh there isn't a great deal wrong with this version of "Angel and the Badman" but at the same time there isn't anything which makes me want to watch it again.

The thing is that "Angel and the Badman" has a pleasant little story which sees Quirt having turned to crime discovers in Penelope and the Worth family that there are still good, honest people in the world. But of course having become a badman there are others who are after him and if he wanted to turn peaceful and be with Penelope there would be trouble. On top of this there is a lawman just waiting for Quirt to make the wrong movie so he can arrest him. None of which is complicated and for the most the movie is about the conflict which both Quirt and Penelope feel having fallen in love; Quirt knows his history means trouble will come whilst Penelope would if she had to ride off with Quirt rather than have him hang around and have to fight.

But what this version of "Angel and the Badman" has is John Wayne and Gail Russell who have the right look and decent on screen chemistry so that even when the storyline kind of meanders the flirting between them is kind of charming. Basically you buy in to their romance and the troubles they face falling for each other.

What this all boils down to is that whilst the original "Angel and the Badman" is better than the remake it is still not the great John Wayne movie I had hoped it would be. In truth it is a pleasant distraction but nothing special.

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