Angel's Flight (1965)

75 mins | Film noir | 1965

Writer:

Dean Romano

Cinematographer:

Glen Gano

Editor:

John Bushelman

Production Designer:

Byrd Holland

Production Company:

Bad Axe Productions
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HISTORY

Angel's Flight was filmed in and around the aging Bunker Hill neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles in the summer of 1962, according to notes by Bob Martin, who shot still photographs for the production, and dates written on clapper boards visible in those photos. A prominent landmark in the film is Angels Flight, a 1901 funicular, or incline railway, from which "Liz" jumps to her death. The Los Angeles Police Department reportedly shut down production at one point because the crew was shooting without permits.
       Writer Deane Romano, whose first name in credits was spelled Dean, told AFI Catalog that he found the negative for Angel's Flight at a Hollywood film laboratory in the 1980s and rescued it. The ending was gone, so he duplicated the opening credits and added them to the end. A digitized version of the film was shown at a Los Angeles film noir festival at Hollywood's Egyptian Theater in 2005, and KCET, Los Angeles' Public Television affiliate, aired it as part of its coverage of the reopening of Angels Flight. A positive film copy may not exist, and following Romano's death in 2011, the whereabouts of the negative is uncertain. However, the film is mostly extant and available.
       There is some doubt whether the picture was theatrically released in the 1960s. A re-edited version with a newly filmed wrap-around story may have played at Midwestern drive-ins under the name Shock Hill.
       Over the years, the funicular's name has been spelled Angel's Flight and, more recently, Angels Flight. Romano explained that he gave the title an apostrophe because the story is about "an angel in flight."
       The club ...

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Angel's Flight was filmed in and around the aging Bunker Hill neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles in the summer of 1962, according to notes by Bob Martin, who shot still photographs for the production, and dates written on clapper boards visible in those photos. A prominent landmark in the film is Angels Flight, a 1901 funicular, or incline railway, from which "Liz" jumps to her death. The Los Angeles Police Department reportedly shut down production at one point because the crew was shooting without permits.
       Writer Deane Romano, whose first name in credits was spelled Dean, told AFI Catalog that he found the negative for Angel's Flight at a Hollywood film laboratory in the 1980s and rescued it. The ending was gone, so he duplicated the opening credits and added them to the end. A digitized version of the film was shown at a Los Angeles film noir festival at Hollywood's Egyptian Theater in 2005, and KCET, Los Angeles' Public Television affiliate, aired it as part of its coverage of the reopening of Angels Flight. A positive film copy may not exist, and following Romano's death in 2011, the whereabouts of the negative is uncertain. However, the film is mostly extant and available.
       There is some doubt whether the picture was theatrically released in the 1960s. A re-edited version with a newly filmed wrap-around story may have played at Midwestern drive-ins under the name Shock Hill.
       Over the years, the funicular's name has been spelled Angel's Flight and, more recently, Angels Flight. Romano explained that he gave the title an apostrophe because the story is about "an angel in flight."
       The club where "Liz" performed her dance act was The Other Ball, located at 825 East Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, northeast of Los Angeles. It was the sister club of The Odd Ball in Santa Monica, CA.
       Director of photography Glen Gano's career went back to the silent film era.
       Angel's Flight is prized for its location coverage of Los Angeles' Bunker Hill neighborhood, which was slowly being razed when filming took place, according to Jim Dawson’s landmark Los Angeles’s Bunker Hill: Pulp Fiction’s Mean Streets and Film Noir’s Ground Zero (2012). By 1969, the last remnants of the hill, including Angels Flight, were hauled away. During the 1920s, and again from the late 1940s into the 1960s, Bunker Hill was used as a location in well over a hundred films. See also M (1950), Chicago Calling (1952), The Turning Point (1952, and The Exiles (1961).

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CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Prod mgr
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Bob Martin
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to prod
Prod co-ord
Prod supv
SOURCES
SONGS
Title song "Angel's Flight," by Frank Romano, sung by Ann Richards. "Liz," music & lyrics by Gaye Merritt, sung by Gaye Merritt.
PERFORMED BY
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Shock Hill
Release Date:
1965
Production Date:
30 Jun --17 Jul 1962
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Former reporter Ben Wylie lives in a rundown hotel at the corner of Third and Olive streets on Bunker Hill, a neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles, CA, where he spends his days and nights in an alcoholic stupor. Late one night, Ben stumbles into Liz, a young blonde on her way to her apartment in a Victorian boarding house at the corner of Third Street and Bunker Hill Avenue. Ben does not realize that Liz has just murdered a man with a razor. The next day, he awakens with Liz on his mind, thinking she is Misha, his dead wife. At the Angels Flight Cafe on another corner of Third and Olive, he learns from Jake, the bartender, that the "Bunker Hill killer" struck again last night. In hopes of reviving his journalistic career, Ben determines to solve the string of murders. He confers with an old friend, Pete Johnson, a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective. Gradually, Ben discovers that Liz, who works as an exotic dancer, is psychologically damaged because of an earlier rape, and punishes handsome men by luring them into dark places and killing them. When Ben takes Liz to the back-alley stairway where she was raped and exposes the reason for her murder spree, she runs away. Getting on Bunker Hill's block-long Angels Flight funicular railway, Liz leaps to her death. ...

More Less

Former reporter Ben Wylie lives in a rundown hotel at the corner of Third and Olive streets on Bunker Hill, a neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles, CA, where he spends his days and nights in an alcoholic stupor. Late one night, Ben stumbles into Liz, a young blonde on her way to her apartment in a Victorian boarding house at the corner of Third Street and Bunker Hill Avenue. Ben does not realize that Liz has just murdered a man with a razor. The next day, he awakens with Liz on his mind, thinking she is Misha, his dead wife. At the Angels Flight Cafe on another corner of Third and Olive, he learns from Jake, the bartender, that the "Bunker Hill killer" struck again last night. In hopes of reviving his journalistic career, Ben determines to solve the string of murders. He confers with an old friend, Pete Johnson, a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective. Gradually, Ben discovers that Liz, who works as an exotic dancer, is psychologically damaged because of an earlier rape, and punishes handsome men by luring them into dark places and killing them. When Ben takes Liz to the back-alley stairway where she was raped and exposes the reason for her murder spree, she runs away. Getting on Bunker Hill's block-long Angels Flight funicular railway, Liz leaps to her death.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.