movie review of Band of Angels (1957) starring Clark Gable, Yvonne de Carlo, Sidney Poitier
Band of Angels is a Civil War-era movie about the torrid romance between a plantation owner and a half-caste beauty. Directed by Raoul Walsh, starring Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo and Sidney Poitier.
Frankly, if I had never seen Gone with the Wind, I would have enjoyed Band of Angels much more. The basic problem is that Clark Gable’s character (Hamish Bond) is nearly identical to his character in Gone with the Wind. That’s frankly too bad, because Band of Angels is an enjoyable movie. With a very adult handling of a difficult issue — slavery in America.
The movie begins in the American South shortly before the Civil War. The lovely young Amantha Starr is played by the beautiful Yvonne de Carlo. She returns home from her schooling in the North upon hearing that her beloved father is seriously ill. Unfortunately, by the time she arrives, he has died. And a very dangerous secret is brought out. Amantha, who appears to be white, is actually the daughter of her departed father and one of his slaves. And she is sold into slavery to the “dashing rogue” Hamish Bond (played by Clark Gable). Hamish’s plantation is run with more kindness than whips. He has been raising the slave Rau-Ru (played by Sidney Poitier) as his own son. Despite this, Rau-Ru is bridling with the bitterness of slavery against his owner.
Intrigues and secrets
Against the backdrop of the Civil War, there are various intrigues, and other secrets that come to the fore. As I say, it’s an adult discussion of a serious subject, wrapped in an entertaining film. It also deals with the duality of mankind’s good and bad side. But I really can’t say any more without giving away the movie.
I enjoyed Band of Angels, and I rate it 3 stars out of 5.
Movie quotes from Band of Angels starring Clark Gable, Yvonne de Carlo, Sidney Poitier
Amantha Starr (Yvonne de Carlo): [Wakes up in bed, stretches] Mr. Hamish Bond can’t keep me here! I’m leaving the moment his back is turned.
Michele: [Offers a tray of food] The Master said those low-down men didn’t bother to feed you. You must be very hungry.
Amantha Starr (Yvonne de Carlo): [Frowns] I’ll leave — as soon as I’ve had the chance to rest and recover my strength.
[Picks up a knife and fork and begins to eat]
Amantha Starr (Yvonne de Carlo): You say you won’t touch me. You give me your word as a gentleman. Well, what’s to stop you from breakin’ your word late one night and forcin’ yourself on me while I sleep?
Hamish Bond (Clark Gable): [grins] Only the word of a gentleman.
Amantha Starr (Yvonne de Carlo): [late that night, unable to sleep] He said he wouldn’t. But those are his footsteps, coming down the hall. Coming closer!
Amantha Starr (Yvonne de Carlo): He didn’t! Not tonight, anyway. Why not?
[Frowning at first, she thinks it over, then gradually falls asleep]
Trivia for Band of Angels starring Clark Gable, Yvonne de Carlo, Sidney Poitier
- The film proved to be a complete failure on release, both critically and commercially. Clark Gable was annoyed by the comparisons with Gone with the Wind and instructed his agent, “If it doesn’t suit an old geezer with false teeth, forget about it. ” He also decided to part company with Raoul Walsh, previously one of his favorite directors.
- The movie was derisively nicknamed “The Ghost of Gone with the Wind”.
Cast of characters in Band of Angels
- Clark Gable (Possessed, Broadway Melody of 1938) … Hamish Bond
- Yvonne De Carlo (The Munsters season 1, Death of a Scoundrel) … Amantha Starr
- Sidney Poitier (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, A Patch of Blue) … Rau-Ru
- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (House of Strangers, Batman – Mask of the Phantasm) … Lt. Ethan Sears
- Rex Reason (This Island Earth, The Creature Walks Among Us) … Capt. Seth Parton
- Patric Knowles (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man) … Charles de Marigny
- Torin Thatcher (Witness for the Prosecution, 7th Voyage of Sinbad) … Capt. Canavan
- Andrea King (Red Planet Mars, The Beast with Five Fingers) … Miss Idell
- Ray Teal (Jumping Jacks) … Mr. Calloway
- Russell Evans … Jimmee
- Carolle Drake … Michele
- Raymond Bailey (The Incredible Shrinking Man, Tarantula) … Mr. Stuart
- Tommie Moore … Dollie