Angel is a 1984 American crime film, directed by Robert Vincent O'Neill, starring Cliff Gorman, Susan Tyrrell, Dick Shawn, Rory Calhoun and Donna Wilkes (as the title character).
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
Fifteen-year-old honor student Molly Stewart (Donna Wilkes) attends private prep school in the Los Angeles area in the daytime, but transforms herself to "Angel" at night: a leather mini-skirted, high-heeled street prostitute who works Hollywood Boulevard.
Angel has a "street family" made up of aging movie cowboy Kit Carson (Rory Calhoun), street performer Yoyo Charlie (Steven M. Porter), transvestite Mae (Dick Shawn), fellow hookers Crystal (Donna McDaniel) and Lana (Graem McGavin) and her landlord, eccentric painter Solly Mosler (Susan Tyrrell).
The street's dangers increase as a psycho-necrophiliac serial killer (John Diehl) begins to stalk and murder the prostitutes. Los Angeles Police Lt. Andrews (Cliff Gorman) is assigned to the case, but finds no leads.
Tragedy strikes Angel's group of friends when Crystal becomes a victim. The next day at school, Molly is confronted by teacher Patricia Allen (Elaine Giftos), who is concerned about Molly's lack of extra-curricular activities. Molly explains that her mother was paralyzed by a stroke and she has to head home immediately after school each day to care for her.
Lt. Andrews advises the hookers to work in pairs. Angel teams up with her partner, Lana. Lana takes a potential client to a motel room she and Angel share. When Angel shows up at the room with a client of her own a couple of hours later she finds Lana's body in the shower.
Angel gives the police a description of the suspect and a composite sketch is made. The killer is brought in for a lineup and Angel recognizes him, but he shoots his way out of the police station and escapes.
Andrews takes Molly/Angel home to speak with her parents, but discovers that Molly's father left nine years ago and her mother abandoned her three years ago. Molly maintains the pretense of a mother at home so she won't be sent to a foster home. She believes her father will return someday. She has paid her rent, school tuition and living expenses through prostitution since she was twelve years old.
Despite Andrews's warnings to stay off the street, Angel/Molly purchases a pistol and returns to work. Her masquerade falls apart that night when some classmates recognize her on the street. Word flashes through the students at her school and soon everyone knows that Molly spends her evenings as a Hollywood hooker.
The next day, Ms. Allen visits Molly's apartment and insists on meeting her mother. Mae pretends to be Molly's mother, but Allen isn't fooled. Mae is still at the apartment when the killer shows up later and stabs her to death.
Solly discovers Mae's body. Andrews and Molly return to her apartment and find Mae's body. Molly heads out on the streets with Solly's huge, long-barreled magnum to avenge Mae and Andrews goes after her.
After a fight and chase, Carson (whom Andrews enlisted to help) shoots the killer. Molly, Andrews, and a wounded Carson walk off together and the film fades to black.
- Cliff Gorman as Lieutenant Andrews
- Susan Tyrrell as Solly Mosler
- Dick Shawn as Mae
- Rory Calhoun as Kit Carson
- Donna Wilkes as Molly "Angel" Stewart
Donna Wilkes (who played 15-year-old Molly) was actually 24 years old, when she played the role.
Wilkes prepared for the role by talking to real-life street prostitutes on Hollywood Boulevard, spent time with the Los Angeles Police Department and spent time in various halfway houses for underage children living on the streets of Los Angeles.
Composer Craig Safan wrote the score to this film in less than a week.
The film premiered at the Hollywood Pacific Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.
The motel in the film is the El Royale Motel at 11117 Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, California. Most of the film was shot at real locations on and around Hollywood Boulevard.
"Angel" became a sleeper hit, debuting #8 at the box office, grossing $2,214,824 during its opening weekend. It managed to stay in the top 10 at the boxx office for several months.
Domestically, the film earned $17,488,564, making the highest grossing film released by New World Pictures.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Angel" received an audience score of 45% with its average rating as 3.2\5.
Vincent Canby called it "another fearless problem film" and that it would turn out to be "one of the top sleazemobiles of 1984".
1984 San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
- Audience Award for Best Feature: Robert Vincent O'Neill (won)