Big-time western drama has resulted from John Wayne’s first production effort. Angel and the Badman is solid entertainment way above what might be expected from its western locale and characters. It’s loaded with sharp performances, honest writing and direction.
Story essentials deal with a hot gunman of the early west who is succored by a family of Quakers when he falls wounded on its doorstep. There is a gradual absorption of the family’s formula for living by the bad man, and in the end he turns to the soil and the religion in a perfectly believable manner. Reformation is achieved not only through his love for the daughter of the Quaker family but through gradual realization that the faith of the Friends is a solid basis for achievement of happiness.
Wayne does his best job since Stagecoach as the gunman. Gail Russell has never been seen to better advantage as the frank and honest Quaker girl who falls in love and actually pursues the gunman. Role is played with an intelligent interpretation of the attraction between the sexes. Harry Carey makes his sheriff role a stout contributer to the general worth of this feature.
Archie J. Stout’s camera takes full advantages of the wide open western scenery and other production dress.