Lost Angel (1944)

90-92 mins | Comedy-drama | January 1944

Director:

Roy Rowland

Writer:

Isobel Lennart

Producer:

Robert Sisk

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Editor:

Frank E. Hull

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to the NYHT review, "theater personality" Angna Enters, who is credited onscreen with the film's "idea," wrote a story called "Mama's Angel," which was the basis of this picture. Lost Angel was Enters' first film credit. Many reviewers commented on the performance of six-year-old Margaret O'Brien, predicting that Lost Angel would launch her as a star. Some compared her favorably to child star Shirley Temple. O'Brien received a Special Academy Award in 1944 as "Outstanding Child Actress." Child star Bobby Driscoll made his screen debut in the picture. According to HR , Lost Angel was voted the most popular film among the Southwest Pacific Army camps in Mar 1944, beating one hundred other films "by a wide margin." A HR news item adds Barbara Quintanilla to the cast, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. In addition, HR notes that David Miller directed the onscreen band during the "I've Got You Under My Skin" number, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. On 19 Jun 1944, O'Brien, Marsha Hunt, James Craig and Keenan Wynn reprised their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film. O'Brien also portrayed "Alpha" in a 22 Oct 1945 Lux broadcast, which co-starred George Murphy and Donna ... More Less

According to the NYHT review, "theater personality" Angna Enters, who is credited onscreen with the film's "idea," wrote a story called "Mama's Angel," which was the basis of this picture. Lost Angel was Enters' first film credit. Many reviewers commented on the performance of six-year-old Margaret O'Brien, predicting that Lost Angel would launch her as a star. Some compared her favorably to child star Shirley Temple. O'Brien received a Special Academy Award in 1944 as "Outstanding Child Actress." Child star Bobby Driscoll made his screen debut in the picture. According to HR , Lost Angel was voted the most popular film among the Southwest Pacific Army camps in Mar 1944, beating one hundred other films "by a wide margin." A HR news item adds Barbara Quintanilla to the cast, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. In addition, HR notes that David Miller directed the onscreen band during the "I've Got You Under My Skin" number, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. On 19 Jun 1944, O'Brien, Marsha Hunt, James Craig and Keenan Wynn reprised their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film. O'Brien also portrayed "Alpha" in a 22 Oct 1945 Lux broadcast, which co-starred George Murphy and Donna Reed. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Nov 1943.
---
Daily Variety
5 Nov 43
p. 4.
Film Daily
10 Nov 43
p. 42.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 43
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 43
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 43
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 43
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 43
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 44
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 44
p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Nov 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Sep 43
p. 1555.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Nov 43
p. 1613.
New York Herald Tribune
4 Apr 1944.
---
New York Times
10 Apr 44
p. 14.
Variety
12 Apr 44
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Based on an idea by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Chinese instructor
Unit mgr
STAND INS
Singing double for Marsha Hunt
SOURCES
SONGS
"I've Got You Under My Skin," words and music by Cole Porter.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1944
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Tulsa, OK: 23 December 1943
Production Date:
31 March--early May 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 October 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12374
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90-92
Length(in feet):
8,172
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9425
SYNOPSIS

Immediately after a baby girl is discovered on the steps of a New York City orphanage, a matron notifies Professor Peter Vincent at the Institute of Child Psychology of her arrival. Vincent and his colleague, Dr. Woodring, examine the infant and, satisfied that she is "perfect," take her to the Institute, where she becomes the subject of a long-term experiment. Over the next six years, Vincent, Woodring and fellow Institute researchers Dr. and Mrs. Catty, Rhoda Kittereck, and Professors Endicott and Richards expose the orphan, whom they have named Alpha, to a rigorous schedule of lessons and controlled play. Under the loving if rigid tutelage of the researchers, Alpha quickly learns Chinese, music, chess, math and history. When Alpha, who has never been outside the Institute's walls, turns six, Vincent invites the New York Morning Transcript to write about her, and Transcript editor Ed Vincent assigns ne'er-do-well reporter Mike Regan, a Harvard graduate, to the story. Mike interviews Alpha and, while impressed with her vast knowledge, questions whether she is happy living in a world without "magic." Alpha is both intrigued and disturbed by Mike's comments and, later that night, slips out of the Institute. With help from a policeman and some Chinese merchants, Alpha, who refers to Mike as her father, tracks the reporter to a boxing match. There Alpha asks Mike to prove his statements regarding the realness of magic, and the bemused Mike walks the girl over to Times Square. Though not thoroughly convinced that she is witnessing magic, Alpha is impressed by the sights and sounds of the busy streets. Mike, who calls ... +


Immediately after a baby girl is discovered on the steps of a New York City orphanage, a matron notifies Professor Peter Vincent at the Institute of Child Psychology of her arrival. Vincent and his colleague, Dr. Woodring, examine the infant and, satisfied that she is "perfect," take her to the Institute, where she becomes the subject of a long-term experiment. Over the next six years, Vincent, Woodring and fellow Institute researchers Dr. and Mrs. Catty, Rhoda Kittereck, and Professors Endicott and Richards expose the orphan, whom they have named Alpha, to a rigorous schedule of lessons and controlled play. Under the loving if rigid tutelage of the researchers, Alpha quickly learns Chinese, music, chess, math and history. When Alpha, who has never been outside the Institute's walls, turns six, Vincent invites the New York Morning Transcript to write about her, and Transcript editor Ed Vincent assigns ne'er-do-well reporter Mike Regan, a Harvard graduate, to the story. Mike interviews Alpha and, while impressed with her vast knowledge, questions whether she is happy living in a world without "magic." Alpha is both intrigued and disturbed by Mike's comments and, later that night, slips out of the Institute. With help from a policeman and some Chinese merchants, Alpha, who refers to Mike as her father, tracks the reporter to a boxing match. There Alpha asks Mike to prove his statements regarding the realness of magic, and the bemused Mike walks the girl over to Times Square. Though not thoroughly convinced that she is witnessing magic, Alpha is impressed by the sights and sounds of the busy streets. Mike, who calls Alpha "Professor," then takes her to the nightclub where his girl friend, Katie Mallory, works as a singer. Instantly jealous, Alpha snubs Katie, then indulges in her first plate of spaghetti. When Alpha asks Mike if he likes Katie more than he likes her, Mike refuses to answer, prompting Alpha to burst into tears. While Katie comforts the girl, explaining that the big-hearted if irresponsible Mike is capable of loving them both, Mike telephones the Institute. The researchers, who have been trying desperately to find Alpha, are relieved to hear she is safe, but break the news that because Mrs. Catty has contracted measles and the Institute has been placed under quarantine, Mike has to continue his babysitting chores. Mike begs Katie to care for Alpha, but, determined to teach Mike a lesson in responsibility, she refuses. Soon after Mike settles Alpha into his apartment, Ed telephones with orders to cover the prison escape of Packy Roos, a petty criminal who Mike suspects was framed for murder. Then, just as Vincent calls with a long list of instructions for Mike, Alpha vomits up her spaghetti. After the harried Mike takes off to find Packy, leaving Alpha alone, a gun-wielding Packy sneaks into his apartment. To keep Alpha quiet, the semi-literate Packy offers to read a book of fairy tales to her. Alpha soon takes over the reading chores, however, and by the time Mike returns, the two have become fast friends. Brandishing his gun, Packy tells Mike that a gangster named Lefty Moran framed him and insists that Mike go find him. The next morning, Mike returns to the apartment, empty-handed and hungry, and is forced by Katie to prepare breakfast for everyone. After six more hours of searching, Mike finally drags Lefty back to the apartment. Feeling vengeful, Packy is about to shoot Lefty when the ever-logical Alpha convinces him that he is too smart to commit such a dumb act. Instead, Packy forces Lefty to write a confession, then calls the police. At the same time, the Institute quarantine is lifted, and Vincent and the other researchers rush to collect Alpha. The researchers soon realize how much Mike means to Alpha when she breaks down in tears at the thought of leaving him. Alpha tells Mike that she loves him, but Mike, afraid of his feelings, assures her that she can live without him. Later, a guilt-ridden Mike asks Ed for a transfer to Washington, D.C., unaware that Alpha has become seriously ill with grief. Just as Mike is about to depart, Packy shows up with gifts for Alpha. Packy is disgusted by Mike's rejection of Alpha and goes to the Institute to see her. When he learns about her condition, he determines to reunite her with Mike and leaves to intercept Mike's train. Mike, meanwhile, encounters a young boy and his mother on the train and suddenly realizes he cannot live without Alpha. After rushing back to the Institute, Mike throws himself into Alpha's eager arms, and all are moved by their tearful, happy reunion. +

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.