US, 1978, 91 minutes, Colour.
Sophia Loren, Steve Railsback, John Vernon, John Houston.
Directed by Boris Sagal.
Angela is a vehicle for Sophia Loren. The film was made in Canada in the mid-'70s - and seems a strange choice for the actress. There is a pleasant performance by Steve Railsback at the beginning of his career. John Vernon snarls as the villain. John Houston is present with his patriarchal style.
The film is directed by Boris Sagal, director of a number of modest movies and telemovies - probably the most prominent was The Omega Man. The screenplay is melodramatic, and is a variation on the Oedipus theme.
1. Interesting and entertaining melodrama, character study?
2. The use of Canadian locations? The city? Its environment? Musical score and mood?
3. The title and the focus on Angela? A performance for Sophia Loren?
4. The war situation, Angela by herself, the birth of the baby and her looking after it? Ben being discharged? His return home, criminal connections, suspicions about paternity? His hostility towards Angela? Brutalising her? The betrayal of Ben to the police by Angela in revenge? His taking the baby and her thinking it dead? The irony of her encounter with her son? The affair? Ben coming out of jail? The plausibility of the melodramatic finale? The variation on the theme of Oedipus marrying his mother and killing his father?
5. The portrait of Angela: in the city, while her husband was away, the birth of the baby and her devotion to it? Her delight in her husband's returning home? His turning against her? Her betraying him to the Police? The taking of the baby? Her accusation of Hogan and spitting on him? His revenge? The passing of the Vegars? Angela's friendship with Coco - and their discussions about relationships, reading tea leaves, Coco's warnings? The encounter with Jean? reaction, falling in love, the affair? tender? Her work, the restaurant? Handling the staff? The release of Ben, the warning by Hogan and his henchmen? Wanting to break off the affair with Sam? The discovery of the truth? The violent encounter, her death? Ben and his being in the war, military, the return home? The gangster connections? Going back to Hogan? The deals and the set-up? His brutality towards Angela and suspicions? His going to prison? Getting out, returning to Hogan, vowing vengeance, his violence and killing Angela?
6. Jean - his not knowing his story as a baby, being taken by Hogan's henchmen and given to the couple? His growing up with the couple? As a butcher, his work, friendship with his father, father's illness and death? The encounter with Angela, her, coming by, the growing friendship, the affair? going away and his discovering her? His puzzle? His bewilderment with the final violence and the final frame on his face?
7. Coco and her friendship with Angela, giving her warnings, the reading of the tea leaves?
8. Hogan and his sinister presence, deals, Ben not squealing on him, his being insulted by Angela and taking her child, his telling her the truth when he met her again, the warning about Ben?
9. The atmosphere of the city - the tenements, the restaurants, the petty gangsters, the crime deals, the business people? A melodramatic story in plausible circumstances?