Taglines: Harry Angel is searching for the truth… Pray he doesn’t find it.
In 1955, Harry Angel, a New York City private investigator, is hired by Louis Cyphre to track down John Liebling, a crooner known professionally as “Johnny Favorite” who Cyphre had helped become successful. Cyphre stands to benefit from unspecified collateral on Favorite’s death and suspects that a private upstate hospital, where the war invalid Favorite was receiving psychiatric treatment for shell shock, is issuing false reports.
Angel goes to the hospital and discovers that a backdated transfer record has recently been added by a physician named Albert Fowler. After Angel breaks into his home, Fowler admits that 12 years ago he was bribed by a man and woman to allow Favorite to leave while maintaining the fiction that he was still a patient at the hospital. Believing that Fowler is still withholding information, Angel locks him in his bedroom. Hours later, he finds the doctor murdered.
Unnerved, Angel tells Cyphre that he no longer wants the job, but agrees to continue after Cyphre offers him $5,000. He soon discovers that Favorite had a wealthy fiancée named Margaret Krusemark but had also begun a secret love affair with a woman named Evangeline Proudfoot. Angel travels to New Orleans and meets with Margaret, who divulges little information, telling him that Favorite is dead.
Angel then discovers that Evangeline is also dead, but is survived by her 17-year-old daughter, Epiphany Proudfoot, who was conceived during her mother’s love affair with Favorite. When Epiphany is reluctant to speak, Angel tracks down Toots Sweet, a blues guitarist and former Favorite bandmate. After Angel uses force to try to extract details of Favorite’s last-known whereabouts, Toots refers him back to Margaret.
The following morning, police detectives inform Angel that Toots has been murdered. Angel returns to Margaret’s home, where he finds her murdered, her heart removed with a ceremonial knife. He is later attacked by enforcers of Ethan Krusemark—a powerful Louisiana patriarch and Margaret’s father—who tell him to leave town.
Angel returns to his hotel and finds Epiphany on his doorstep. He invites her into his room, where they have aggressive sexual intercourse, during which Angel has visions of blood dripping from the ceiling and splashing around the room. He later confronts Krusemark in a gumbo hut, where the latter reveals that he and Margaret were the ones who helped Favorite leave the hospital.
He also explains that Favorite was actually a powerful magician who sold his soul to Satan in exchange for stardom, but then sought to renege on the bargain. In 1943, Favorite kidnapped a young soldier and performed a Satanic ritual on the boy, murdering him and eating his still-beating heart in order to hide from the devil.
Favorite was supposed to drop out and resurface as the soldier he murdered, but was unexpectedly drafted into the war, injured, then sent home with amnesia. Hoping to jar his memory, the Krusemarks took Favorite from the hospital and released him into Time Square, never to be seen again. Angel has a panic attack and runs into the bathroom. He returns to find Krusemark drowned in a cauldron of boiling gumbo.
Angel Heart (1987)
Directed by: Alan Parker
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling, Stocker Fontelieu, Brownie McGhee, Elizabeth Whitcraft, Kathleen Wilhoite, Judith Drake
Screenplay by: Alan Parker
Production Design by: Brian Morris
Cinematography by: Michael Seresin
Film Editing by: Gerry Hambling
Costume Design by: Aude Bronson-Howard
Set Decoration by: Robert J. Franco, Leslie A. Pope
Art Direction by: Armin Ganz, Kristi Zea
Music by: Trevor Jones
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Release Date: March 6, 1987