BAND OF ANGELS
(director: Raoul Walsh; screenwriter: based on a Robert Penn Warren novel/John Twist, Ivan Goff, Ben Robert; cinematographer: Lucien Ballard; editor: Folmar Blangsted; music: Max Steiner; cast: Rex Reason (Seth Parton), Ray Teal (Mr. Calloway), Clark Gable (Hamish Bond), Yvonne De Carlo (Amantha “Manty” Starr), Sidney Poitier (Rau-Ru), Efrem Zimbalist Jr (Ethan Sears), Patric Knowles (Charles de Marigny), Caroline Drake (Michele), Torin Thatcher (Capt. Canavan), Andrea King (Miss Idell), Russell Evans (Jimmee–Bond’s steward); Runtime: 125; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jerry Wald; Warners; 1957)
“A failed film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Raoul Walsh (“Battle Cry”/”The Roaring Twenties”/”Dark Command”) helms this vacuous antebellum drama without taste or purpose.
The attractive Amantha “Manty” Starr (Yvonne De Carlo), in 1865, returns to her Kentucky plantation after completing finishing school in Cincinnati just after her plantation owner father’s death. Her mom died a few years ago. At her dad’s funeral it’s revealed her mom was one of the plantation slaves. It results in the plantation sold to pay off its debts and Manty sold at a New Orleans slave auction to the wealthy slave-trader and Louisiana plantation owner rogue Hamish Bond (Clark Gable). As a household slave Manty also becomes the master’s mistress.
The uninvolving romantic tale about love and hate between the races is poorly scripted by John Twist, Ivan Goff, and Ben Robert, from a novel by Robert Penn Warren.
Sidney Poitier plays the reliable household slave. A role he might want to forget.
It’s a failed film, whose inert race-baiting attitude was not acceptable even back then in 1957. When viewed today, its GWTW without anything epic or memorable about it. If looking only for a period costume pic, it might work for such a limited viewer.
REVIEWED ON 5/4/2016 GRADE: C