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  • It's obvious that Warner Brothers decided to duplicate the success of Gone With the Wind when they hired Clark Gable for the lead role in Band of Angels. As Hamish Bond, former slave trader, and now plantation owner in the Louisiana delta country, Gable is an older and more worldly wise Rhett Butler. A man deeply concerned about the sins he committed in this life as a slave trader, living it down as best he can.

    One of his new charities is Yvonne DeCarlo who received one rude shock when her father died. Her mom was black, one of the plantation slaves and she is technically one also. She's not the mistress of her father's plantation, she along with the rest of the property, real and human, is to be sold for back taxes.

    Gable buys her and sets her up in his New Orleans home. Also in that house is a young black man named Ra-Ru played by Sidney Poitier. Poitier, in violation of the laws of the time, has been educated. And he's acquired enough education to appreciate the situation he's in. He's got a great hate for his benefactor who he really sees as no different than other, crueler slave holders.

    Today's audience which has seen Steven Spielberg's great true film Amistad about the illegal African slave trade, can appreciate far better Gable's dilemma. It's as if the owners of the Amistad grew a conscience. Gable's description of life in the slave trade when he levels with Yvonne DeCarlo is a high point of the film as is his description of the rescue of an African baby who grew up to be Sidney Poitier.

    The film does borrow liberally from Gone With the Wind in terms of Gable's character. But it also borrows from Birth of a Nation. Catch the scenes at his plantation on the delta when his slaves greet him and DeCarlo coming off the riverboat. Very much in keeping with that flawed classic. Had Gable done this film at his former studio MGM, I'm sure Ava Gardner would have been cast opposite him. Though DeCarlo is fine, Ava would have made the part a classic.

    Actually it's Poitier who walks off with the acting honors here. His Ra-Ru is filled with fire and passion. What Gable thought of as an act of kindness, is not perceived by Poitier as that. He's educated enough to see exactly the institution of slavery for the dehumanizing force that it is. His confrontation with another plantation owner, Patric Knowles, when he tries to force himself on DeCarlo is not something one with the slave mentality would do. Knowles makes a big mistake in assuming Poitier thinks that way.

    Actually Patric Knowles has another important scene with Gable after Poitier assaults Knowles and escapes. Gable has no use for him at all. He's originally from New England and doesn't like southern aristocrats as a group. Though Knowles is reputed to be a dead shot as a duelist, Gable faces him down and makes him turn tail in my favorite scene in the film.

    Band of Angels did not get the best of reviews at the time it came out. I think it was ahead of its time and can be better appreciated by audiences today.
  • Warner Brothers spared no expense in this lavish film production of a young woman of mixed parentage who falls in love with the man who buys her at an auction but denies her racial heritage. Clark Gable dominates the film as an ex-slave trader and plantation owner in the antebellum South. Yvonne De Carlo is the mulatto who becomes Gable's mistress and Sidney Poitier as a proud man who was raised as Bond's son. Gable and De Carlo make an appealing pair in the film but they spend a great deal of time quarreling with each other. Gable has a dark secret about his past that he'd like to forget and De Carlo struggles to accept the truth about her racial origins. Gable later is a fugitive from Union justice for burning crops and stores, thereby risking the hangman's noose. The film's title refers to a newly-formed Union regiment of black soldiers in the waning days of the Confederacy. The film has an excellent music score by Max Steiner, great technicolor lensing by Lucien Ballard and a solid supporting cast.
  • This is a better film than history has accorded it, and presents even more reasons to view it today than in times nearer to its production neatly 50 years ago. First, it is a later film directed by Walsh, who made and average of over 2-1/2 movies per year from 1912 to the early 1960's. (Unfortunately, one of his last, "Marines, Let's Go," is one of the greatest wastes of celluloid in the history of the industry, but doesn't obviate the quality and significance of most of his work.) Since this is a Civil War-era film, but made before the defining, sweeping civil rights occurrences, turmoil, and advancements generated by the 1960's - it provides an excellent presentation of the previous approach to this subject. I recall reading sometime back a comment about Walsh's "Tall Men" film, also starring Gable, along with Robert Ryan and Cameron Mitchell - using the now-antiquated term "lusty," in describing the characters and actors in the picture, as well as the types of films often made by Walsh, and those with Clark Gable. Clark, as Hamish Bond, personifies "lusty" in this film, with a CAPITAL "L" - part of the film's depicting quintessential 1950's work. Yvonne DeCarlo is a lovely presence, and while her physical beauty wasn't completely-hidden by her "Munsters" persona, it's pleasing to see her, in plainer view and when she was younger. Sidney Poitier is excellent as usual. but doesn't he always seem as if he is on the verge of grabbing a spear, and leading a horde of natives in storming the southern African British garrison, undermanned and commanded by, say, Jack Hawkins, John Mills or Alec Guinness? Rex Reason, as a union officer, former acquaintance of De Carlo, who turns smarmy when he discovers her in New Orleans, provides a time capsule example for the word "hipocracy." That the plot is one of those is one of those where you can see both the short- and long-term developments coming (right to the film's climax) from the proverbial "mile away," doesn't diminish the enjoyment of this presentation on many levels -- the final being that this is among several of the films Gable made in what was the unexpected end of his iconic career, from a heart attack only a few years following.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw Band of angels at the Cinemathèque in Paris about thirty years ago, and yet i have not forget the film. What a splendid melodrama, a melodrama like Emilio Fernandez "el indio" could do in Mexico, or the great Philipino author of "Insiang". A melodrama with political flavor. Of course we are in the United States in the Fifties, and we know Yvonne DE Carlo will not leave at the end with Sydney Poitier! But the idea -which is totally possible- of a person with black blood, appearing totally white, and even ignoring her family links was a good way to help a white audience realise the cruelty and the insanity of racism (didn't Upton Sinclair wrote a novell on this theme?). The scene in the boat where the slave merchant tries to rape Yvonne, and she commits suicide, films frankly a theme that was not common on an Hollywood film, the institutionalised rape of afro-American women by whites. In the same time the scene where she is sold in auction, (and bought up by Clarck Gable, one the most wanted man of the time), bring another strange dimension, the s&m one: its no longer filmed realistically, but like a nightmare or a dream, or a erotic fantasy. We are no longer in Gone with the wind but in Histoire d'O.

    Of course, politically, for today standards, it is quite poor, and Sydney Poitier fight for his share with gusto in a film unable to make anything else than a stereotype. It seems the script didn't knew really what to do for him.

    The black Mistress of Gable is better treated by the script: her role is to be remembered. She plays it with great sharpness. Was she a theater actress?

    And the style of Hawks, those slow movements of camera, those colors...

    You have to put back the film in the context...Its a courageous film. Its a clever film. It a very beautiful film.
  • This film is called " Band of Angels " and with such a title and with Clark Gable as the star, one would expect it to be a motion picture about flying. Instead it's a great surprise to see it is set during the Civil War. Based on the novel by Robert Warren, it tells the story of Amantha Starr (Yvonne De Carlo) an attractive young white girl raised on a southern plantation in a well-to-do fashion. When her father dies, she discovers her wealthy father was in terrible debt and she is sold into slavery, and it is further discovered she is actually the daughter of a female Negro. Fearing the worse, she attempts suicide when she realizes she will be put up for sale at auction. Purchased by Hamish Bond (Clark Gable) a wealthy southern gentleman, introduces her to a fine house and unusual servants. Sidney Poitier is in great form as one sees the early caliber of his acting. Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Rex Reason and Torin Thatcher, make fine additions to this surprisingly good film. Recommended to any who seeks a good movie. ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm hesitant to call "Band of Angels" a masterwork or one of Raoul Walsh's best. I just saw it for the first time and I felt that it could have been better after all the hoopla and praises I have read about it.

    A Warner Bros extravaganza based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren, "Band of Angels" is a grand and episodic Civil War epic, a lyrical love story between a virile slave owner named Hamish Bond (Clark Gable) and half-white, half-black southern belle Amantha Starr (Yvonne deCarlo). "Band of Angels" begins with Amantha as a young girl whose wealthy white father is a recently deceased plantation owner in New Orleans. Shocked and heartbroken, Amantha discovers that she is mulatto and her mother is long departed black nanny. To pay off her family debts, Amantha is forced into slavery. At the auction, Hamish, out of nowhere, buys Amantha, brings her to his mansion and treats her like a lady, regardless of her stubbornness. Initially uncertain, both soon grow into one another and they discover that they can't live without each other. The 30-year-old Sydney Poitier provides good supporting role as Rau-Ru.

    "Band of Angels" has a striking Technicolor photography and rich, untamed emotions that are captured by Max Steiner's wistfully searing score. It is a warm nostalgic piece, slightly unfocused at times, but well handled by Walsh, though it is nowhere near his best.

    Not a classic but it's worth seeing for Gable, DeCarlo, Poitier, and Max Steiner's music.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although not American, I do enjoy films set at the time of the American civil war and inevitably come out on the side of the confederates, considering the Yankees or northerners as the bad guys. This film is a rich story, somewhat akin to Gone with the Wind but not as long, shot in gorgeous technicolor with to boot a magnificent music score by Max Steiner which I managed to find on CD though not without some difficulty ! Hamish Bond, personified by Clark Gable is on the Confederate side and I am full of admiration for this character who is full of hidden talents and surprises. On the other hand, Amanda starr's initially betrothed, Seth Parton, is an obnoxious, politically correct character ( the equivalent of todays American "liberal") who thinks that he alone is right and who wants to force his views on everyone else. Sidney Poitier, who I little appreciate in films also has an obnoxious, tiresome, vindictive and ungrateful character, which is difficult to bear, but these minor points apart, the film is excellent, especially in the development of the amorous relationship between Clark Gable and Yvonne de Carlo. I also liked Mr Bond's servant called Michelle who comes over as a very attractive person ( in love with him too, and therefore jealous of Amanda ). There are some beautiful scenes of the Mississippi and the riverboat with the slaves chanting on the banks. I have watched this film over and over for its plastic beauty, for the emotion it distils, for its beautiful music and above all for the fantastic character personified by Clark Gable ! I have for many years lamented the absence of a DVD for this masterpiece but I see now that in the USA at least, one has been programmed for January 2007. The film is known in France under the title "L'esclave Libre" ( The Free Slave ) and is aired fairly regularly on French Television.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The world was full of all colors during the time leading up to the Civil War in the South…The cry for freedom was in the air like a rising wind… Slaves have already gone wild on many plantations but not yet on Pointe du Loup, Louisiana, where it was still serene…

    Hamish Bond maintains a plantation outside New Orleans… At the slave mart he buys a beautiful girl for $5,000… She is the daughter of a supposedly wealthy Kentucky planter… After her father's death she discovered he has left her nothing but debts… She also discovered her mother was a black slave and that, according to the custom of the time, she is classified of Negro blood and literally sold down the river to discharge her father's debts…

    Amantha Starr is horrified and degraded at the treatment she—a well-bred white girl—receives when she becomes classified as a woman of mixed race…

    Hamish doesn't relegate the proud dark-haired woman to slave quarters but treats her as a lady in his household, where romance develops… Clark Gable plays the New Orleans wealthy gentleman who got a past he'd like to forget… He knows better than most men that money is no cure-all… He used to think it was… He used to think it would open the door to friendship and other essentials more important than power… He used to believe it was everything: a drug for loneliness, a painkiller for certain memories, the whole apothecary shop for every problem of life…

    He bought the attractive Amantha because she was on the slave block… Somebody else was bound to bid her on… That fellow with laced cuffs putting his hands on her and he hates lace cuffs…

    Yvonne de Carlo plays Amantha, the lady of quality with Negro heritage… She didn't go on her way north, nor she jumped the boat at Pointe du Loup… She has suffered, and she always will, with Hamish or without him… There always will be the fires, the memories because she loves him, and because he's the only man she ever loved, or ever will…

    The young Sidney Poitier plays the rebellious ambitious chief slave Rau-Ru who gets off the sidewalk for nobody… No constable or paddy roll ever stopped him…No steamboat captain ever asked to see his pass… Will he feels lucky enough to deliver his boss to the hangman one day?
  • It's with some sense of poignancy that, in the late 1950s, the old guard of Hollywood began to finally fade away. With Band of Angels we have a middle-aged Clark Gable in one of his last ever archetypal he-man roles, Raoul Walsh, one of the few directors left who had been around since the beginning, and John Twist, a writer of adventures and romances who had started back in the silent era. These men were professionals of their day, still able to turn out a good production, and yet it was also clear they were becoming hopelessly out of time.

    Band of Angels is one of many pictures from this time to take a stand on racial issues, and yet even by the standards of the time it is a woefully misguided attempt. Rather than using Yvonne De Carlo's situation to demonstrate the horrors of slavery and make the point that a person's colour is skin deep, it seems to present her being branded black as something horrifying in itself. It holds up kindly masters in mitigation of slavery, and even goes so far as to condemn a slave (the Sidney Poitier character) who is ungrateful for this condescending attitude. There's also a full supporting cast of cringeworthy stereotypes – including a "mammy" – and all the drawling and eye-rolling that cinema had mostly put-paid to by this time. The makers of the movie meant well, I'm sure, but it is clearly a case of old Hollywood trying to do The Defiant Ones while still stuck in Gone with the Wind mode.

    And yet there is much to be said for old Hollywood. Walsh's dynamic direction brings an iconic look to scenes like Gable and De Carlo's kiss during the storm. He brings real intensity to the duel between Gable and Raymond Bailey, stealthily moving the camera forward as the two men get closer to each other (a trick he first used in his 1915 feature debut, Regeneration). Despite his age Gable is still very much the virile, eye-catching lead man, and this is a decent performance from him – check out the look in his eyes when he slaps his rival at the slave auction. There is also some achingly beautiful cinematography from Lucien Ballard, with some gorgeous Southern scenery and really effective lighting of interiors, achieving a look with candlelight and shadow that was hard to pull off in Technicolor. Band of Angels is, if nothing else, a movie to be enjoyed visually – and in this way more than any other harks back to a bygone age.
  • I seldom register just to review a movie. But this film evoked my heart and cried while watching it twice. The film is a gem but was underrated; good thing I saw this yesterday in TCM and I fell in love all over again with Clark Gable. He has more depth here and more character and passion than Gone with the Wind. I love the tension of love between him and Amantha; I love both of them. I wish there were more kissing, though. All their acting and lines were great; script was great. There were few flows though like too much singing and early complaints of Amantha being bought by Hamish. She should be grateful that he bought her and treated her like a queen; but I guess she was in shock to just find out that she has lost everything. I like Michelle, she's elegant and simple. What I don't like personally, that other woman slave with Michelle that kept on singing, she's obnoxious. Lastly, I did not like Sidney here for the most part because of his ungratefulness to Hamish; but later on realized his mistake. He's always angry; of course, he's a great actor, don't get me wrong.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well, we have quite a range of reactions to this film from the greatest film ever to the worst film ever seen. I prefer it to the more polished "Gone with the Wind". I believe it was one of Gable's most significant roles after 1939, along with "The Tall Men". Yes, Clark Gable was no longer the swaggering rogue, man of action and lady killer of the '30s. Here, we have a more mature weathered-looking Gable, who has settled down to the genteel life of a southern plantation owner, after a financially successful life as a rough and tumble Yankee slave trader. Yet, he is still something of a rebel. He has a guilty conscience about his former life as a ruthless slave trader and wants to make partial amends by treating his large group of slaves decently. In fact, he plans to leave his estate to one of them. He tends to see the born southern aristocracy as largely decadently effete, as exemplified by a neighbor who takes a liking to his recent light-skinned mulatto acquisition((Yvonne De Carlo, as Amantha). Clearly, Gable, as Hamish Bond, has no interest in supporting the recent unsettling changes in the political scene and the impending Civil War. He recognizes that these events will probably shatter his idyllic life and that the lives of many of his slaves will likely be changed for the worse if they are liberated by the Yankee troops. Perhaps, he recognized that secession failed to solve the looming problem of a lack of new territories for the expansion of plantation slavery, thus depressing the monetary value of young surplus slaves. Perhaps, he also recognized that a separate South impeded the legal demands slave owners could make in recapturing escaped slaves who made it out of the Confederacy. On the other hand, Hamish refuses to support the cause of the Yankee troops who want to sell his soon-to-be harvested cotton. He risks execution in burning his cotton crop and most of his equipment.

    Hamish rescues, in dramatic fashion, a beautiful cultivated mulatto(Yvonne De Carlo, as Amantha) from a fate she could not bear, although she initially shows little gratitude. He does not require that she become his mistress and in fact gives her a chance to escape his world, but she has a last minute change of heart and decides to remain with him. Amantha has experienced two benevolent slave owners: her father and Hamish. This is in marked contrast to her treatment as a slave on the auction block. The dialog makes it clear that her father and Hamish are rather exceptional in this regard. Thus, I don't buy the criticism that this film provides an unrealistically rosy picture of the typical lives of slaves. The film makes the viewer feel deeply the horror of a sudden change in status from a southern belle to a life-long slave. If you want a much more extreme example, read the book "Skeletons in the Zahara", in which shipwrecked Yankee sailors are transformed into barely living slaves of fearsome tribes or Arabs near the coast of northwest Africa.

    The relationship between Hamish and his slave and appointed successor Rau-Ru(Sidney Poitier)is another key element of this story. Rau-Ru hates the institution of slavery and hates Hamish even more for his rather successful attempt to make slavery agreeable to his slaves. The fact that he is the heir apparent for this plantation does nor change his attitude. The last portion of the film deals mainly with the critical relationships between Hamish and Rau-Ru, now a Union soldier, and between Hamish, Amantha and a certain Union Caucasian soldier, against a background of Union troops overrunning Hamish's plantation. See the film to find out how this cliffhanger complex of relationships turns out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's been said that this cinematic treasure is "Gone With the Wind-ish," but that's in the movie's pre-Civil War setting only. I wanted to watch this over-and-over for reasons too numerous to list here; so I'll go with just the top of my list:

    1. First, the plot is very creative and believable. I cannot say that this movie reminds me of another that I've seen.

    2. Amantha's life goes from serene and privileged to total upheaval within the first 10 minutes - such that she wants to kill herself. As a viewer, I was totally locked-in and had to know what was to become of her.

    3. Though "Rhett-dressed," Gable's acting is superb and fitting to his age (nearing 60!). He's calm, a well-settled gentleman, and mysterious versus forward, feisty and easily-readable as Rhett was. How great to see his acting un-stereotypical, creative, well-seasoned and peaked!

    4. The unfolding story is full of twists and secrets, all along the way.

    5. The "secret" of Amantha's past and that of Hamish (Gable) is so antithetical, making their relationship the least-likely to succeed.

    6. A variety of chemistry mixes develop between Amantha and various suitors - but the deepest develops with Gable despite his age. Both Gable (Hamish) and the much-younger, handsome Seth know her past, but oh-how-differently they treat her!

    7. The black chorus acapella singing is ahhh ear-candy!

    8. The plantation setting and costuming is wooo-hooo eye-candy!

    9. The supporting cast just adds to the intensity of the unfolding story, taking this viewer's emotions from shock to angry to suspense to elated . . .

    I'll skip #10-999 and simply recommend that you watch and enjoy . . . as many times as you like ;)
  • Mr. Hamish Bond,

    What a great movie here! I've sit down and watched it time and time again. A film with a little bit over everything, well design story with a touch of Southern charm.. =) Point De Loop will live forever in my heart.

    If you enjoy older movie with a plot and tired of today's computer back screens and FX, then this movie is for you. In a time when actors made movies what they are. Trust me a Southern boy from the South who grew up in some of these terms. Another good movie from Gable is Run Silence Run deep...

    Yall take care now..
  • In Kentucky in the antebellum of the Civil War, Amantha Starr (Yvonne De Carlo) is the pride and joy of her father, the plantation owner Aaron Starr (William Forrest) that treats her slaves with dignity. When he dies, Amantha learns that he mother was black and she is included as a slave to be sold to pay his father's debts. She is sent to an auction in New Orleans and bought by the wealthy Hamish Bond (Clark Gable) by a fortune. He brings her home and treats her as if she were a guest. Amantha meets the slaves Rau-Ru (Sidney Poitier), who is treated like a son, and Michele (Carolle Drake), who is Hamish's mistress and in love with him. Soon they fall in love with each other, but Hamish discloses a dreadful secret from his past, their relationship ends. Meanwhile the Civil War breaks out and Hamish becomes a wanted man while Rau-Ru joins the Union Army. Will the love of Amantha and Hamish be doomed by the war?

    "Band of Angels" is a romantic epic that seems to be a soap opera with a story with many twists. The plot seems to be a melodramatic version of "Gone with the Wind" and Rau-Ru first attitude is ungrateful. The best moment of this melodrama is when Amantha discovers that she is considered a black woman and consequently a slave. Her situation is impressive and heartbreaking. The spoiled woman is suddenly transformed into a property of despicable men. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Meu Pecado Foi Nascer" ("My Sin Was to be Born")
  • Warning: Spoilers
    19 years after "Gone with the Wind" Clark Gable returns as a very-much-like Rhett Butler role of Hamish Bond; no doubt for the pleasure of us moviegoers it's one of his best roles.

    A very rich ex-slaver takes an interest in a white girl suddenly being sold as a slave based upon the revelation that her mother was black. The story covers about six years and it is beautifully filmed; a picture worth seeing every few years.

    The Yankees do not look good in this movie; because the film was well researched and scores about 90% for historical accuracy. Union General Butler was much worse and more corrupt as portrayed here. It is also worth noting that MOST slave traders were in fact from New England, Massachusetts being the first slave state where slavery was used widely to do the Yankee's dirty work. America's #1 slave trader -- not a nice man like Clark Gable's portrayal, but one of the most rotten men in American history -- was Brown of Rhode Island, the founder of Brown University, built with slave-trade money. Mass-Conn-RI were loaded with slaves, about 40% of their population; very quiet about it these days.

    Today's empty-headed Hollywood is very confused about slavery. Devoted to "political correctness" but clueless to its meaning, most classic movies containing so much as one slave (or no slaves, as in Walt Disney's "Song of the South") are quietly not available except thru bootlegs. "Band of Angels" somehow escaped the PC Squad; readily available on DVD. 9 out of 10.
  • This film is a typical pre-Sixties look at the Civil War. They are very progressive for the time, having one black actor in a major role and several in bit parts, but even still the film is startlingly unwitty. It would be great to study the politics behind this film. It follows the early Hollywood mode of having white actors play black roles, and I would not hesitate from assuming that they had Evon De Carlo to play the role because of the taboo of a black person kissing a white person on the screen. Sidney Potier delivers a fairly decent performance, while Evon De Carlo and Clark Gable could not get out of the Rhett Butler/Scarlett O'Hara mold. The film has some fairly good scenes, but overall it is just barely watchable.
  • f86282118 November 2006
    Gone with the Wind is fantastic, but Band of Angels stands alone as the great work of Clark Gable. With Stunning support from other cast members, this civil war drama plays with an unbridled sense of pure adventure. The first time I saw this film I was awe struck, the second clinched the deal. Its a great story with even better performances by Gable and Poitier and Yvonne De Carlo, together they really bring this film into the heart. Its too bad that film has been overlooked through history, I truly feel that if you watch this film, you too will have a new appreciation for Civil War drama. Not saying that one would not already, but Mr. Hammish Bond (Gable), is truly a southern rouge with a unique past who brings the genre into a new light.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I believe this to be a seriously underrated film. And, it's main problem is that it's Clark Gable's picture, and here he's Hamish Bond, not Rhett Butler. Since it's a Civil War pic, there are the inevitable comparisons to "Gone With The Wind", and no film compares to that.

    For those who think the film is too tame in the way in deals with slavery, miscegenation, and related topics. This film was made in 1957, long before things in cinema opened up; keep in mind that the dramatic way "Roots" dealt with the same topics was in a different era 20 years later. But, stop and think about the first 30 minutes of this film (during which Clark Gable doesn't even appear): a young White girl finds out she's not really White...she's a Negress (the term used in the film). Her father dies and she is stripped of her family estate and heirlooms. At a slave market in New Orleans she is sold into slavery after she learns first hand of the sexual abuse many slaves underwent and she attempts suicide. Pretty powerful stuff for 1957. And then there's Gable's character who we think is a fairly kind slave owner...but later in the film he admits that he was a slave trader who partook in atrocities in Africa. Again, pretty powerful stuff in 1957 to have a leading man take such a position.

    Clark Gable is excellent here, particularly when he admits his past. I didn't always like Gable's films, but when the part was right he could be very powerful on screen...and he is here. Yvonne DeCarlo, as the "Negress" is excellent here. This is probably her best role, and it is a shame she eventually succumbed to making "The Munsters".

    In supporting roles, Sidney Poitier is key as Gable's slave that he has raised as a son. Poitier was just building his acting career here, but he was an impressive actor even then. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. is good as a Union soldier, although I would like to have seen more of him; I feel he is an underrated actor. Rex Reason is just right an the evangelical lover who plays a continuing (but ever-changing) role in DeCarlo's life. Patric Knowles plays a cowardly plantation owner very well. A gem of a performance is put in by Ray Teal as a slave dealer...can't say you'll like the character, but it's great acting.

    I don't find a lot to criticize here. There are some plot twists, particularly toward the end of the film, but I found them enhancing the story line. Too many of our IMDb reviewers here are trying to review a 1950s film about race from a 21st century perspective. Sorry, that's not fair and it doesn't work.

    Watch for yourself, keep an open mind, and learn about an era before Dr. Martin Luther King.
  • I've often felt that a movie--even a bad one--can be enjoyed on many different levels--for example, the acting alone, the script, the direction, photography, atmospheric effects, etc. It's hard to find anything to say about BAND OF ANGELS except that it was photographed in excellent technicolor and Max Steiner actually manages to create an interesting score--though definitely not one of his best.

    Indeed, no one is at their best in this film--not Clark Gable, as an older and tired looking version of Rhett Butler, nor beautiful Yvonne de Carlo--each given some of the worst dialogue any actors have ever been saddled with. It's a murky tale of a plantation owner in love with a woman of mixed ancestry. Patric Knowles and Sidney Poitier try to bring some semblance of dignity to the acting but there's simply too much tripe to allow anyone to look good. And by the way, it's not based on a Frank Yerby novel, as someone has said previously. It's based on a novel by Robert Penn Warren which I hope was better than the movie. Had to be.

    Only the Steiner score provides a point of interest. Certainly nowhere near the level of that other Civil War epic starring Gable. No way!
  • Just watched this DVD of the movie after 30 years of remembering it being promoted on a local station for a late Sunday night showing. Clark Gable plays Hamish Bond, a slave owner who treats his employees with kindness like Carolle Drake as Michelle (we find out she was also his mistress) and Tommie Moore as Dollie. Also, Sidney Poitier as Rau-Ru, who later joins the Union Army. Oh, and Yvonne De Carlo plays a mulatto named Amanda Starr who passes for the lighter race. I'll just now say that while I was fascinated by the fact that one legend was teamed with someone who would become one himself, part of me was bored with the way the plot kept meandering along. I'm sure Robert Penn Warren's novel must have been more exciting than this. In fact, I feel asleep a couple of times so I had to rewind to find out what I missed sometimes. So on that note, I say Band of Angels is at the least worth a look. P.S. I recognized that white Union soldier Poitier was talking to as William Schallert who would later appear with Sidney in In the Heat of the Night. I was a little distracted that the general in this film had the surname of Butler. And I liked the Louisiana locations that were showcased since I happen to live in the state.
  • I've seen the movie many times and i love it it is actually more true to life than most people would like to admit back in the the actual times this type of life was actually real and very common place many many plantation owners took black slave woman as mistresses often approved buy their wives especially in areas of new Orleans it was practically considered a sign of wealth and almost their duty to take a mistress it left their wives to deal with other more social matters they often set their mistresses up in a little cottage and fathered many children the female children of these relationships were prized for their cream colored skin an highly sought after sadly if the plantation owner ever died their children being part black were not allowed by law to own or inherit any of their property

    so for those of you who didn't like it for its truth oh well its more well written than most of the special effects computer generated garbage thats out their. now you'll get over it. truth is its whites who brought blacks here an made slaves of them in the first place did we expect them to remain slaves or inferior to us forever as we believed them to be we didn't take away their way of life we ended slave labor our white ancestors 199 years ago this is the 21st century! both black an white need to put it behind them movies like this need to remind us of that we are all the same color under the skin is stranger than fiction
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Band of Angels"


    Directed by Raoul Walsh

    Starring Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo, Sidney Poitier, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Carolle Drake

    Plot: a light-skinned daughter of a plantation owner and a slave is sold into slavery after living a young life of luxury. A series of men attempt to rape and/or seduce her. Finally, she embarks on her "happily ever after" with a slave trader.

    Where to begin. How to summarize everything that is wrong with this ugly little movie.

    It must be said that this film has its fans. One can see why.

    "Band of Angels" has star power: Gable, who did not age well, is 56 here, and he looks ten years older, but he's still Gable. This is your one chance to see Sidney Poitier and Gable together. Yvonne DeCarlo is a great beauty.

    The film has glorious sets of the old South, lovely gowns, and a series of bodice-ripper scenes that some will find arousing.

    It has a tried and true bodice-ripper, romance novel plot: a woman falls in love with her rapist, and in this case, her owner: a slave trader who bought her at a slave auction.

    Many viewers will find this plot, though, icky, and Gable is too creaky here to ignite the kind of spark he could once ignite that will get us past the ick factor.

    The real problem with this movie is this: the movie thinks that it is a groundbreaking, truth-telling, realistic depiction of the horrors of the enslavement of African Americans. It's not, though. Rather, it is a tragic display of white denial.

    I know what you're thinking. "This reviewer is politically correct!" The thing is, I'm not politically correct at all. "Gone with the Wind" is one of my favorite movies.

    But "Gone with the Wind" has tremendous narrative and archetypal power that transcends its unrealistic portrayal of slavery.

    "Band of Angels" has no such power.

    Its "realistic" and "truth telling" depiction of slavery includes the following:

    In the opening scene, two slaves are shown running away. They, like the other slaves in the movie, are very well dressed. Even GWTW has the decency to show slaves in ragged clothing.

    Read descriptions of how real slaves actually dressed. They dressed in rags, or in nothing at all.

    The runaways walk tall and quick. Their body movements announce that they consider themselves to be the equal of their captors.

    Again, even GWTW depicted the deferential walk and posture that slaves had to adopt. Read Richard Wright. Blacks in the South had to assume a different posture and walk just to survive, right up until the Civil Rights Movement.

    The runaway slaves' owner decides to punish them -- by having them pull weeds! Read any honest history of slavery. Runaway slaves were punished with horrible tortures. "Pulling weeds" was not one of them.

    There is one bad white Southerner in the movie. Like most of the other men in the movie, he tries to rape Yvonne DeCarlo. She easily rebuffs him. Millions of real slaves were not so lucky.

    Most of the white Southerners in the movie are well meaning, and most of the slaves are happy. Carolle Drake, whose dignified performance is the best thing about the movie -- it is a real tragedy that this is the only film she ever made -- plays a slave woman who is in love with her owner. She is light skinned, and is allowed to be dignified. Other, darker slaves are shown as idiotic and animal-like, or as so overjoyed by the presence of their slave owner that they burst into spirituals.

    Sidney Poitier plays a slave who has been treated well by his master, Clark Gable.

    Poitier repays Gable for this excellent treatment by scheming for Gable's death. It is only when Gable reveals that he is Poitier's father that Poitier realizes his appropriate love for the man who owned him and raped his African mother.

    In the film's capstone scene, where Gable talks about the horrors of the slave trade, Gable describes savage Africans as doing most of the dirty work. Gable, poor, innocent white slave trader, physically fights against the Africans who are savaging their own people in order to supply him, Gable, with human cargo.

    For any decent person, watching this scene of white denial is gut wrenching.

    Finally, Yankees arrive. They are every bit as bad as the Yankees in GWTW. The poor, stupid slaves who welcome their arrival, Gable intones, are not intelligent enough to realize how lucky they had it under their beneficent Southern owners.

    Again, if you like seeing beautiful women in pretty costumes, and if you want to see Yvonne De Carlo's bodice ripped -- six or seven -- I lost count -- men in the film attempt to have their way with her -- and if "woman falls in love with rapist" plots are your cup of tea, and if you can ignore the nauseating denial that underlies this exercise, then you may enjoy this movie.

    Otherwise, it is more of sociological interest than aesthetic.
  • This movie is something else I must say. I just don't know how to take it. I guess the thing that upset me the most was this movie was another example of Hollywood being racist, while telling a story about racism, their displaying racism. First thing that upset me was they cast a white actress to the part of a mixed black person, Hollywood did this often in movies about mixed race people (Pinky, Lost Boundaries, Imitation of Life, Show Boat), they always would cast white actors and actress and try to make them look ethnic, instead of hiring light-skinned black actress and actors to play the part, it would bring an authenticity to the role if a real black played the part. For this particular movie, Band of Angels, Hilda Simms (famous for playing Anna Lucasta on Broadway) who was a beautiful, talented, light-skinned black woman, would have been perfect as Manty, but as some reviewers have said, a true black and a white kissing and being in love on screen was taboo and something the world wasn't ready to see yet, but it was okay to see a "pretend black girl played by a white" and a white man in love, how much sense does that make??? Manty once lived as a white privileged girl, so when she finds out she's "black," she can't accept her blackness or the black side, and throughout the movie she's still acts like a white girl, detached in many ways. Yvonne De Carlo, doesn't even play the tragic mulatto well, she seems very cold, especially when she's on the black side. Its because she has no experience as a black, she can't bring that experience to the role, so she seems very detached and going through the motions in some parts of the movie. She couldn't bring the suffering and hardships of being black like a real black actress could.

    This movie showed some truth about slavery, many white slave masters were sleeping with black women and having black mistresses. Where do you think all these different tones of black people come from? Many blacks have white ancestry, but most whites won't admit they have black relations. Many slave masters would keep their mixed race children a secret from their white families. President Thomas Jefferson has black descendants, from the children he had with his black slave mistress, but most white descendants of Thomas Jefferson haven't been as welcomed to them. I saw a common theme in this movie it seems the men couldn't wait to sleep with or rape the light-skinned Manty, proving that during slavery, many light-skinned black women were used as sex slaves back then, but yet still slaves.

    Another thing about this movie is the "one drop of black blood" rule. This was something made up by whites to keep mixed race people out of their race. Whites wanted to keep their race pure, so even if a mixed race person looked more white, that drop of black kept them from being white. They didn't have a choice to choose to be black or white. White people were in denial of their black-white relations and gung-ho about not accepting mixed race ones, and that's still true to this day. Our President Obama is of mixed race, but people call him black. Also back then there was a rule that if your mother was a slave, you had to be a slave. That was one way slave owners could keep more slaves from being free. Quite a few black men were able to buy their freedom, but most black women couldn't afford their freedom and plus if a slave was of mixed race, she still had to be a slave, even if her father was a white man, if her mother was black she still had to be a slave.

    There's some discrepancies in this film, I doubt in real life back then a Manty could just be crossing the color line back and forth, being black then being white. If you were lucky enough to pass and get away with it, you ran away somewhere no one knew you. If you were known as black, people would keep an eye on you so you wouldn't pass. Manty had more freedoms then a black girl would be given in true life back then, and she had more freedoms then even white woman would ever be given, so I doubt Manty would just be all over the place like she was in this film. Slave masters back then who were having affairs with blacks, didn't carry on so openly as this movie suggest. I doubt in real life Manty and Clark Gable would ride out into the sunset and live happily ever after.

    I could understand the bitterness of Rau-Ru, Clark Gable's character buy slaves and supposedly treat them nice, to make up for being apart of the slave trade, but yet his slaves are still slaves, not free to go and come as they please. I wonder how many white slave owners back then thought they could make up for buying slaves by being nice.

    Michele, played by model Carrole Drake, is a pretty house slave, who once was the mistress of Clark Gable, but when Manty was brought in, Michele had to move over, but she still loves him. It supposedly was taboo for a black and white romance, but anyone could see Michele and Clark Gable had something going on between them, without kissing. Carrole never did any other films, and that's ashame, she was wonderful in this part.

    Tommie Moore was marvelous as the spunky, naughty, sassy Dolly, she was a wonderful black actress who people don't even know. She was a great actress, but like many black actress and actors it was hard to find work and get recognition. Juanita Moore, famous for Imitation of Life, was wonderful in her small part.
  • I disagree with those who say this film whitewashes slavery. I found the scenes where Amanda finds out she is a slave and the slave auction among the most moving I have ever seen in the cinema. The film clearly shows that light skinned women were highly prized in the slave market to be used for sexual reasons. One only has to think what would have happened had someone like Bond not bought her.

    Sidney Pointier character clearly shows that slaves didn't identify with the masters even those that treated them well.

    This picture was a very moving experience. I saw it on TCM during non prime time. I wish it was better known.
  • 'Band of Angels' is an unusual 1950s melodrama with a fairly good cast. The script is not free of a few groaners, and some of the characterizations call for some endurance. The viewers' introduction to Gable's character, for one, is of a US bully from the we-saved-the-world 1950s. Also, a very cliche'd sailor friend's drinking scene at Gable's mansion was sheer torture for this viewer, and an excess of fawning slaves gathering to sing their Mass'ahs praises at the drop of a hat didn't help.

    That now out of the way, there's more at work that to my mind saves this movie. Supported by Sidney Poitier and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Clark Gable and Yvonne deCarlo play the lead pair, who openly 'live in sin' and are otherwise reprehensible. All the same, both are portrayed sympathetically. Set in the 'Gone with the Wind' period, Gable plays an ex-slaver and cotton-grower who once prowled his plantation's slave shacks for his jollies. She is the shameful issue of a liaison with a slave on another plantation, and it's even suggested that she fools around on Gable while he's away on business.

    This movie's clearly no gem, but it's no dreck. However maudlin and overdone, its basic theme of the redemptive power of love is fairly well handled. The era and settings are unusual and atmospheric enough to hold the viewer's interest, and I had no difficulty with plot over-entanglements even if my credulity was strained now and then.

    It may well have been Yvonne De Carlo's best film, and Gable also did a fair job with an okay script (something not unusual while the studios struggled to survive). Sidney Poitier has a small but meaty role as an educated slave with a deep grudge. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. got his first speaking part in this film, and acquits himself smoothly with limited material. Max Steiner grinds out a spotty sountrack that's effective only in the chase scenes, and then only just ...yet a Rozsa or Korngold he never was.

    The Warnercolour's glorious, and the art direction is especially fine, with atmospheric scenes especially in the Gable character's New Orleans pied-a-terre and (less so) in his plantation mansion. Mind you, it's all 100% 1950s Hollywood, and very pristine and polished ...but let's not expect too much from the era, when Edith Head primped up the women and the idea of onscreen grime, sweat or facial stubble as far off as spaghetti westerns.

    A fairly good film from the 50s, in short: its eventful, sometimes quirky plot, more than passable acting and some unusual settings make most of it very watchable.
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