Angel on My Shoulder (film)

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Angel on My Shoulder
Angel on My Shoulder film poster.jpg
Original theatrical poster
Directed by Archie Mayo
Screenplay by Harry Segall
Roland Kibbee
Story by Harry Segall
Produced byCharles R. Rogers
Starring Paul Muni
Anne Baxter
Claude Rains
Cinematography James Van Trees
Edited byAsa Boyd Clark
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Premier Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • September 20, 1946 (1946-09-20)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States

Angel on My Shoulder is a 1946 American fantasy film directed by Archie Mayo and starring Paul Muni, Anne Baxter and Claude Rains. The plot is about a deal between the Devil and a dead man.


The film was an independent production, produced by Charles R. Rogers and David W. Siegel, written by Harry Segall and Roland Kibbee, and released by United Artists. The film was Mayo's last before his retirement.

The producer changed the original title, Me and Satan, when he concluded that the public would not see a film about the Devil. [1]


Angel on My Shoulder (1946)

After his release from prison, gangster Eddie Kagle is killed by his partner in crime, Smiley Williams. Kagle ends up in Hell, where "Nick" offers him a chance to leave and avenge his own death in exchange for help with a problem. Kagle looks exactly like Judge Frederick Parker, an upright man who is causing Nick distress because he is entirely too honest. Nick fears that Parker may cause him more anxiety in future, as he is running for governor of his state. Nick wants to destroy Parker's reputation and Kagle readily agrees to have his soul transferred into Parker's body.

As soon as Kagle appears as Parker, odd things begin to happen. Kagle pursues his goal with evil intent (though often at cross purposes with the Devil), but everything he does to ruin Judge Parker's reputation somehow results in making Parker look better. Along the way, Kagle falls in love with Barbara Foster, the judge's fiancée, causing him to question his whole outlook on life and eventually rebel against Nick.

Nick presents Kagle the opportunity to shoot Williams, but instead Kagle confronts the man with the truth. Shocked and frightened, Williams backs away and falls out an open window to his death. Beyond Nick's power by virtue of having committed no wrongdoing since he was returned to life, Kagle is eager to stay, start a life with Barbara, and take up Judge Parker's mission to support troubled young people, but Nick points out that every moment Kagle is on Earth, he's denying Parker and Barbara their rightful life together. Kagle agrees, bids Barbara farewell, and relinquishes Parker's body, allowing the couple a tearful reunion.

Exasperated and defeated, Nick takes Kagle back to Hell, leaving Judge Parker in a much better position than before. Nick threatens to make the reformed Kagle's punishment even more painful than usual, but Kagle blackmails his would-be tormentor; in return for not revealing Nick's blunders, Kagle wants to be made a trustee. Nick has no option but to agree to the demand.


The film is now in the public domain in the United States, because the producers, Rogers and Siegel, neglected to renew the copyright in 1973.

The film was remade for TV in the late 1970s, with Peter Strauss, Richard Kiley and Barbara Hershey in the lead roles. It was directed by veteran John Berry, as one of several TV movies he made in the 1970s and 1980s. It was first shown by ABC on May 11, 1980. [2] [3]

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  1. Felice, Carmella (26 November 2006). The Life and Times of Claude Rains. Author House. p. 163. ISBN   978-1425953010.
  2. "Angel on My Shoulder". IMDb. 1980. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  3. "Angel on My Shoulder". Turner Classic Movies . Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved August 22, 2016.