Angel, Angel, Down We Go

Angel, Angel, Down We Go, also known as Cult of the Damned, is a 1969 American film directed by playwright and screenwriter Robert Thom, his sole directorial credit. Thom based his screenplay on an unproduced stage play of the same title that he had written several years earlier as a vehicle for his wife, actress Janice Rule. The film was produced by Sam Katzman's Four Leaf Productions and distributed by American International Pictures.[1][2][3]

Angel, Angel, Down We Go
Angel, Angel, Down We Go.jpg
Film poster
Directed byRobert Thom
Written byRobert Thom
Produced byJerome F. Katzman
StarringJennifer Jones
Jordan Christopher
Roddy McDowall
CinematographyJohn F. Warren
Edited byEve Newman
Music byBarry Mann
Cynthia Weil
Four Leaf Productions
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures (US)
Release dates
  • November 26, 1969 (1969-11-26) (LA)
  • February 3, 1971 (1971-02-03) (NYC)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States


The overweight, emotionally troubled daughter of an affluent but brittle Hollywood couple becomes involved with a charismatic rock singer and his friends. The singer proceeds to seduce and manipulate her entire family.



In August 1960, Thom, best known for writing the film Compulsion, announced he would direct a play titled Angel Angel Down We Go starring his wife, Janice Rule. It would be presented by Leland Hayward in December and was about a group of New York University students in Greenwich Village.[4] By November, Hayward halted production because he had been unable to find a director and a theater.[5] In August 1961, the play was acquired by Theatrical Interests Plan.[6] In September 1962, Shirley Knight was announced as the star.[7]

The Broadway production did not occur but Thom transformed his play into a film script. Film rights were bought by Sam Katzman, who procured financing from AIP.[8] Jennifer Jones signed in December 1968 and filming began on February 18, 1969.[3][9]

The part of the daughter was played by Holly Near, who had not planned to be a film actress but was invited to audition after appearing at an awards event. "I got the part because I was beautiful and because I was fat," recalled Near in her memoir, adding that Thom had asked her to gain weight for the role.[10] Near said that Jones "was the grand dame that she deserved to be. I watched her struggle with her part, with her role, with her fear. I felt like an ugly duckling next to an aging swan."[11] Near felt that Thom "didn't have much compassion for my character ... I struggled to give her dignity where there was none ... I always wondered why Robert wanted to make this film."[11]


The songs in the film, "Angel Angel Down We Go", "The Fat Song", "Hey Hey Hey and a Hi Ho", "Lady Lady", "Mother Lover" and "Revelation," were written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and were sung by Jordan Christopher.[1]


The Los Angeles Times called the film "a pretentious mess" although "it can never be said to bore."[12]

The New York Times described the film as "an unmitigated financial disaster."[13]

AIP rereleased the film as Cult of the Damned in 1970. It was issued on a double bill with The Vampire Lovers. The Los Angeles Times called it "a terrible piece of trash."[14]

In popular cultureEdit

The fifth track on Morrissey's 1988 debut solo album Viva Hate is titled "Angel, Angel Down We Go Together."[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Angel, Angel, Down We Go at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ Martin, Betty (Dec 21, 1968). "MOVIE CALL SHEET: Bill Holden Signed for 'Tree'". Los Angeles Times. p. a6.
  3. ^ a b "MOVIE CALL SHEET: Jennifer Jones Set for Role". Los Angeles Times. Dec 12, 1968. p. f33.
  4. ^ SAM ZOLOTOW (Aug 15, 1960). "FEUER AND MARTIN ACQUIRE THEATRE: Producers of Musicals Get Lunt-Fontanne -- Robert Thom to Direct Show". New York Times. p. 19.
  5. ^ SAM ZOLOTOW (Nov 30, 1960). "HAL MARCH IS SET FOR SPRING PLAY: Gets Starring Role in 'Come Blow Your Horn' -- Sydney Chaplin in Line for Part". New York Times. p. 42.
  6. ^ SAM ZOLOTOW (Aug 2, 1961). "INVESTMENT UNIT ACQUIRES COMEDY: Theatrical Interests Plan to Produce Play About Co-ed". New York Times. p. 17.
  7. ^ Hopper, Hedda (Sep 7, 1962). "Red Skelton Is Touched by Antique Shop Incident". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. b10.
  8. ^ VINCENT CANBY (Mar 2, 1969). "Bye, Bye, Beach Bunnies: Bye, Bye, Beach Bunnies". New York Times. p. D1.
  9. ^ Martin, Betty (Dec 7, 1968). "MOVIE CALL SHEET: Kennedy Joins 'Airport' Cast". Los Angeles Times. p. a8.
  10. ^ Near p 43
  11. ^ a b Near p 44
  12. ^ Thomas, Kevin (Nov 28, 1969). "Jennifer Jones in 'Angels'". Los Angeles Times. p. e32.
  13. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (4 August 1974). "The dime-store way to make movies-and money". New York Times. p. 202.
  14. ^ Thomas, Kevin (Nov 27, 1970). "'Vampire' Showing in Multiples". Los Angeles Times. p. h24.
  15. ^ Morrissey - Viva Hate, retrieved 2022-06-25


  • Near, Holly; Richardson, Derk (1990). Fire in the rain-- singer in the storm : an autobiography. W. Morrow.

External linksEdit