ANGEL AND THE BADMAN
US, 1947, 100 minutes, Black and white.
John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey, Bruce Cabot, Irene Rich, Tom Powers.
Directed by James Edward Grant.
Angel and the Badman is one of many westerns made by John Wayne in the late '40s. The Republic Studios were not one of the most financial of Hollywood by made a lot of efficient actioners. This was written and directed by James Edward Grant, writer of a number of Wayne westerns. The Second Unit direction is by stunt expert Yakima Canutt. Gail Russell, who was to appear with Wayne in Wake of the Red Witch, is a winsome and attractive heroine. Regular Wayne stalwarts appear in the supporting cast.
The film has a Quaker background - a common religious background for westerns e.g. in the '50s with High Noon, 3.10 to Yuma, Friendly Persuasion.
1. An entertaining and interesting western? A John Wayne vehicle? His image?
2. Republic Studios production values, black and white photography, action sequences, locations, special effects? The musical score? Songs? Religious music?
3. The title and its significance? Religious tone? Themes of good and evil, light and darkness? A religious fable?
4. The portrait of Quirt Evans, the John Wayne image? His involvement in robberies, the pursuit by the horsemen, his injury? His convalescence? The encounter with Prudence, her grandfather? His vow against Laredo Stevens? The motive because of the murder of his foster father? The sheriff quietly pursuing? The Worth family and their friendship? Their Quaker background? Quirt and the hold-up of the gambling train? His return to the Worth family? The influence of Prudence, her wanting him to spare Laredo, marriage, settling down? The attack by Stevens, the river, possibly drowning? Rescuing Prudence? Her Illness? The pursuit of Stevens? Prudence pleading with him? His giving her the gun? Prepared to give his life? Redemption? The irony of the sheriff shooting Stevens? An interesting, complex Wayne hero?
5. Prudence and her place in the family, relationship to her grandfather, keeping of the house? Quaker beliefs? Her sensitivity, falling in love with Quirt? Her influence over him? Her gaining his promise to give up violence? The attack, her illness? Going to plead with him? Her winning him over? The name of the virtue in her name? Her being portrayed as religious, as a western 'angel'?
6. The Quaker family and their beliefs? Religious people in the West? Churchgoing? Pacifism? Being confronted with outlaws? Conscience and decisions? Thomas Worth and his honour? Irene and Prudence? Good western people?
7. The contrast with the villains? Stevens and his lack of scruple, gambling, tough gunfighter connections? Being pursued by Quirt? The attack on Quirt and Prudence? The various confrontations building up to the final one? His being pursued by Sheriff Mc Lintock?
8. Quirt and his friends? Dr. Mangrum, and his wanting to get rid of Quirt? Quirt as an ambiguous friend?
9. The sheriff and his quiet pursuit? The avenging killer for Quirt? Stevens?
10. Themes of the West: honour, integrity, the law, frontier justice? The influence of religion?