Angel on My Shoulder (1946)

Paul Muni, Anne Baxter, Claude Rains, Onslow Stevens,
The Devil arranges for a deceased gangster to return to Earth as a well-respected judge to make up for his previous life.
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Harry Segall, Roland Kibbee, Writer:
  • Archie Mayo, Director:
  • Charles R. Rogers, Producer:

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6 / 10

Mr. Jordan Goes To The Dark Side

The comparisons for Angel On My Shoulder and Here Comes Mr. Jordan are too obvious to belabor the point. Naturally since the same guy, Harry Segall wrote both screenplays.

But in this one Claude Rains goes to the dark side. As Mephistopheles he's ruler of the underworld where the damned toil at their labors for eternity. But even Rains gets quite a handful when Paul Muni makes a sudden trip their courtesy of Hardie Albright.

This part of the story is taken right out the plot of Angels With Dirty Faces. You remember that James Cagney took a hiatus from the rackets via a stretch in Sing Sing. When he came back he expected to resume where he left off, but Humphrey Bogart didn't see it that way.

But Hardie Albright must have seen Angels With Dirty Faces because he plugs Paul Muni with four shots after picking him up at the prison gate.

When Muni arrives in Hell he's only got one thing on his mind, crashing out and getting his former pal. Seeing a resemblance to a respected judge who he's trying to ensnare in sin or disgrace, Rains decides to let Muni out on parole so to speak. Of course he goes with him.

When Muni enters the judge's body courtesy of Rains, Rains expects him to just behave in his usual hoodlum manner and disgrace the judge. But somehow the best laid plans of the devil keep getting gummed up. And Muni finds himself falling for the judge's fiancée, Anne Baxter and slowly changing his ways.

Angel On My Shoulder was a charming fantasy that marked only the second time Muni returned to a gangster role other than his famous Scarface portrayal. While he was at Warner Brothers Muni rejected gangster parts over and over again. According to his co-star Anne Baxter, Muni was hoping to revive his career with this one. It was not to be. Muni returned to the stage after this film except for two films in the Fifties.

Best in this film without a doubt is Claude Rains. Then again he's never bad in anything. If you liked him in Here Comes Mr. Jordan you will equally like him on the dark side.

Angel On My Shoulder is an entertaining fantasy, but far from the work Paul Muni did in the Thirties.

7 / 10

Eddie and The Devil

Gangster Eddie Kagle is released from prison. He is surprised when his criminal partner Smiley Williams kills him and he is sent to Hell. The devil calling himself Nick (Claude Rains) offers him a deal. Judge Frederick Parker is too honorable and Nick wants Eddie to replace the judge. Nick switches the two souls. The judge's fiancée Barbara Foster and his butler Albert are concerned about the change in personality.

Claude Rains does an easy job of the Devil. It's too easy for a man of his skill level. Paul Muni has a good thuggish look and the character is great. He has great interior conflicts and he seems smarter than he looks. The best scene is the rotten lettuce barrage and the following fight. The movie needs a McGuffin for the devil's plan. It seems like the devil is scrambling and grabbing at straws. Some of it is delicious like bringing Eddie his revenge wish. It's a great climax for Eddie's character. It surprises me by also able to resolve the romance with Eddie performing a sacrifice for love. I would have liked a better plan from the devil but otherwise, this is an interesting moral drama.

5 / 10

Needs A Little More Credibility, Even For A Fantasy

The first 25 minutes of this movie were very interesting and entertaining with a good mixture of action and comedy. however, once Claude Raines (The Devil) and Paul Muni (a hood who had been killed and sent to Hell) returned to earth and the latter became romantically involved, the film bogged down.

Muni assumes the body of "Judge Parker" but still talks and thinks like the thug he was as his old self. I know it's a fantasy story and not be taken seriously, but still - Parker's fiancé never figuring out that this was not the judge even though his grammar, speech, actions, everything about him except his looks was totally foreign to what he used to be - it was too ridiculous and insulting to anyone's intelligence. Fantasy or not, you have to have at least some credibility in the story! I stayed with the film the whole way, and it wasn't bad but I wouldn't watch it again.

For those who don't believe there is a Devil, this is a good movie to see as it effectively shows how he whispers attractive things in one's ear and how persuasive he can be....all the while ruining you.

7 / 10

Amusing and funny film with comedy and romance

Picture concerns about a gangster called Eddie Kagle (Paul Muni) who is based his way of living on what Omar Khayyan once said : ¨Live fully while you may and reckon not the cost¨ . He leaves the State Penitentiary where was imprisoned accused of murderous , Eddie makes a covenant with the devil (Claude Rains) and returns to earth for vengeance as an important judge . He becomes incarnated a kind judge and the problems emerge when is romanced with his girlfriend (Anne Baxter) , falling in love with her , but the good-heart mobster spoils the relationship .

It's a romantic movie with a supernatural love story . Enjoyable romance tale in which the protagonist trio is sensational . Bemusing fantasy with excellent interpretation by Paul Muni (Scarface) in a comic character while he usually played historical or dramatic roles . Claude Rains(Casablanca) as an ironic and obstinate Devil is magnificent although in ¨Here comes Mr. Jordan¨ he played an Angel . Anne Baxter is enticing and attractive . Fine production design at the Inferno's recreation . The motion picture is well directed by Archie Mayo (Bordertown , Petrified forest , Black legion) in his last film , he's a specialist on noir cinema and worked with almost all Warner Brothers biggest stars (Paul Muni , James Cagney, George Raft , Humphrey Bogart) though also directed some comedy , as this film and with Marx Brothers, ¨One night in Casablanca¨ which had more pace and spirit that some of their later works . Rating : Entertaining and well worth watching .

8 / 10

entertaining fantasy

Paul Muni is a dead convict brought back to earth by the devil in "Angel on my Shoulder," a 1946 film also starring Claude Rains and Anne Baxter. Muni is Eddie, a convict fresh out of jail who is killed by his partner Smiley and goes straight to you know where. Let's just say it's hot. The devil, played by Claude Rains, needs help himself. A Judge Parker is keeping too many candidates out of hell, and he sees that Eddie is a ringer for the Judge. So he arranges for Eddie to get into the judge's body as he sleeps so that he can ruin the judge's reputation and Eddie can get revenge on Smiley. But even the best-laid plans of the Devil can go astray.

During and after World War II, films dealt with psychiatry, with angels, with death, and with people returning from the dead. All of this had to do with the emotional and adjustment problems that returning soldiers had and with the loss of loved ones in countless families. "Angel on My Shoulder" is along the same idea as "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" and "A Guy Named Joe," and a close brother of "Heaven Can Wait" and the later "The Bishop's Wife." This is an excellent example of the genre, with top acting by Paul Muni, Anne Baxter, and Claude Rains. Muni is great in a Bogart type of role - he gives a performance imbued with toughness and humor as a bad guy who begins to see the other side of evil. Anne Baxter is very good as his patient but suffering fiancée, endeavoring to understand the difference in the judge's personality. As the Devil, Claude Rains is inspired casting. He's elegant, charming and manipulative, and gets plenty nervous when he sees things aren't working out as he planned.

Wonderful film, and a good chance to see the fine actor Paul Muni in a lighter role than he usually played.