Eric Stanton, a press agent down on his luck, drifts into a small coastal town in California and meets June Mills (Faye), a reclusive rich woman, and a sultry waitress named Stella (Darnell). In love with Stella but broke, Eric decides to marry June, steal her fortune, divorce her, and

wed Stella. However Stella turns up murdered and suspicion falls on Eric. In order to clear his name, Eric launches his own investigation to find the real killer.

Director Preminger hoped to have another LAURA with this film, but it fell short due to some loose ends in the script and disjointed points of view as the director shifts the focus of the story erratically from one character to another, a blatant red herring to mislead the viewer from guessing the

killer's identity. The overall mood, lighting, and pace of the film, nevertheless, are top, hardboiled film noir.

Faye, who had been a Fox superstar for many years, had been promised a meaty and significant part; she had rejected almost three dozen scripts before accepting the lead in FALLEN ANGEL but her role was slowly chiseled away by Preminger, who played up Darnell during the production, giving her more

and more scenes. Faye felt that some of her best scenes had been chopped and considered herself betrayed. She retired on the spot, so bitter that it would be 16 years before she returned to the screen.