9 June, 2005 at 18:05 Leave a comment

City of Angels (1998)

cover Directed by
Brad Silberling

Writing credits (WGA)
Wim Wenders (screenplay) &
Peter Handke (screenplay) …

Genre: Drama / Fantasy / Romance, “s (1998) * guilt * heaven * hospital * library * remake-of-german-film * medical * religion * suicide * swimming * tragedy * angel * beach * bicycle * death * doctor * fall * god * self-sacrifice * defibrillation * heart-in-hand * heart-surgery * hollywood-sign * los-angeles-california * bathtub-scene


She didn’t believe in angels until she fell in love with one.
What if angels walked amoung us, and one of them fell in love with us?

Plot Outlines:
(view trailer)

Inspired by the modern classic, Wings of Desire, City involves an angel (Cage) who is spotted by a doctor in an operating room. Franz plays Cage’s buddy who somehow knows a lot about angels – Summary written by Mr_bogart

Seth, an angel watching over Los Angeles, begins finding his job difficult as he falls in love with Maggie, a beautiful heart surgeon. She becomes interested in Seth, and soon his not-quite-mortal state seems a barrier rather than a gift. A choice must be made between celestial duty and earthly love – Summary written by Matthew C. Powell

Angels are among us and when we feel an invisible presence, you better believe they are watching you. For a Los Angeles heart surgeon named Maggie, that is too much of a stretch. She believes that it is her job to save the lifes of her patients and when she meets Seth after visiting hours are over, he tells her it’s simply just their time to go. She becomes intrigued by his presence and opinion. Seth is not just normal, he is an Angel. He meets Messinger while visiting patients. Messinger can see him because he was once a Angel but gave his power up to become human. This makes Seth want to become human so he can feel, smell, and love Maggie – Summary written by Kyle

A very interesting story about an angle (seth) who falls in love with a heart surgery doctor (Maggie) after he watch her trying to safe a patient. She accidentaly looks into his eyes (although she can’t see him!) and leave a very deep feeling on Seth’s heart. Seth let Maggie saw her, talk to her, and made her very interested to her. Seth is helped by an ex-angle who become a human and also one of Maggie’s patient. – Summary written by Mei Maria

Inspired by the modern classic, Wings of Desire, City involves an angel (Cage) who is spotted by a doctor in an operating room. Franz plays Cage’s buddy who somehow knows a lot about angels. Film is based on an interesting idea – that angels surround us in our everyday life, and involve themselves in our affairs if necessary. Best part of movie is the beginning, where we can see the angels at work. Film degenerates quickly into a damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I-don’t love story.

User Comments: Wooden performances nullify interesting idea (more)

Memorable Quotes from City of Angels (1998)

Susan: What good would wings be if you couldn’t feel the wind on your face?

Maggie Rice: When they ask me what I liked best, I’ll say it was you.

Seth: You’re a good doctor.
Maggie: How do you know?
Seth: I have a feeling.
Maggie: Yeah, well that’s pretty flimsy evidence.
Seth: Close your eyes. Just for a second… what am I doing?
Maggie: You’re… touching me.
Seth: How do you know?
Maggie: Because, I feel it.
Seth: You should trust that. You don’t trust it enough.

Seth: Hello Maggie! It’s nice to see you again.
Maggie Rice: It’s weird to see you again.
Seth: Weird is nice.

Ann: Never date a guy who knows more about your vagina than you do.

Seth: Let’s go.
Maggie: Where?
Seth: Anywhere.
Maggie: What’ll we do?
Seth: Anything.

Maggie: Something happened in that room. I got this jolt that… something bigger is out there. Something bigger than me, bigger than you. Does that sound crazy?

Maggie: Why do you wear the same clothes all the time? Why won’t you give me your phone number? Are you married?
Seth: No.
Maggie: Are you homeless?
Seth: No.
Maggie: Are you a drummer?

Seth: What’s that like? What’s it taste like? Describe it like Hemingway.
Maggie Rice: Well, it tastes like a pear. You don’t know what a pear tastes like?
Seth: I don’t know what a pear tastes like to you.
Maggie Rice: Sweet, juicy, soft on your tongue, grainy like a sugary sand that dissolves in your mouth. How’s that?
Seth: It’s perfect.

Seth: I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it. One.

Seth: Some things are true whether you believe in them or not.

Maggie: No dying yet, Mr. Messenger. Not until you give me Seth’s phone number.

Maggie: What happened?
Seth: Free will.

Nathaniel Messinger: [to Seth] I can’t see you, but I know you’re there.

Seth: The little girl asked if she could be an angel.
Cassiel: They all want wings.
Seth: I never know what to say.
Cassiel: Tell them the truth. Angels aren’t human. We were never human.
Seth: What if I just make her a little pair of wings out of paper?

Seth: Why do people cry?
Maggie: What do you mean?
Seth: I mean… what happens physically?
Maggie: Well… umm… tear ducts operate on a normal basis to lubricate and protect the eye and when you have an emotion they overreact and create tears.
Seth: Why? Why do they overreact?
Maggie: [pause] I don’t know.
Seth: Maybe… maybe emotion becomes so intense your body just can’t contain it. Your mind and your feelings become too powerful… and your body weeps.

Seth: Can I ask you something?
Susan: Yes?
Seth: What did you like best?
Susan: Pyjamas.

Trivia for City of Angels (1998)

  • This dialogue between Seth (Nicolas Cage) and Maggie – “Let’s go.” “Where?” “I don’t care.” “What will we do?” “Anything.”
    • is virtually identical to an exchange between Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman in Valley Girl (1983).

  • Director Cameo: [Michael Mann] in the foreground when Nicolas Cage is drinking and smoking in a bar.
  • During the “falling” sequence near the end of the film, Seth’s memories are shown. One of them is of a pregnant woman. This woman was portrayed by Elizabeth Shue, though you only see her stomach.
  • When they show shots of any of the angels, they rarely blink. Nicholas Cage actually practiced not blinking and was able to do it for several minutes by the time the film was done. However, once he became human he was able to blink all he wanted.
  • Right before the falling sequence, when Nicholas Cage is preparing to fall, the music being played are the prayers “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” recited in Polish.
  • The concept of angels moving among the living, hearing their conversations, experiencing beauty that humans rarely stop to enjoy or even notice, yet not feeling any emotion or passing any judgment, was first discussed in the writings of Rainer Maria Rilke, specifically, his collection The Duino Elegies.
  • The dedication “For Dawn” refers to producer Dawn Steel, who died of a brain tumor before this film’s release.
  • The rooftop scene with Franz and Cage sitting on scaffolding high above the city was shot for real. Both actors were afraid of heights.
  • When Meg Ryan is looking in the mirror and Cage is not reflected, this was shot twice with motion control: once with Ryan and Cage, once without the actors, and mixed together. also, if you look closely enough, you can see a few strands of Ryan’s hair morphing in and out where Cage’s face was erased.

Goofs for City of Angels (1998)

  • Continuity: The time on a clock in the kitchen.
  • Continuity: Maggie wakes up in bed wearing a ribbed tank top. She rolls over to check the time on the clock and suddenly she’s wearing a satin spaghetti-strap camisole.
  • Continuity: When Seth is cutting the lettuce, he pulls a knife out of the knife block containing 4 or 5 knives. In a later shot, after he has cut his hand, there is only one knife in the block.
  • Plot holes: How does a man with no past, friends, or ID, get possession of Maggie’s house without anyone contesting, when there wasn’t enough time for her to change her will?
  • Incorrectly regarded as goofs: At Messenger’s welcome home picnic, Seth’s reflection is visible in the sliding glass door. But Seth can be seen if he wants to be.
  • Continuity: When Maggie is in the bath-tub, Seth can clearly be seen in the corner of the mirror when Maggie runs her hand through her hair. Then in the next shot (the famous ‘no-reflection’ scene), he has no reflection.
  • Continuity: When Maggie and Seth are on the floor of Maggie’s uncle’s cabin, Maggie’s hand alternates between touching/not touching Seth’s face between shots.
  • Errors in geography: The angels face the sunrise in the mornings, yet in Los Angeles the sun would not rise over the ocean but in the opposite direction.
  • Continuity: When Maggie is putting away her name badge after meeting Seth in Messenger’s room, her fingers are all behind the badge. In the next shot, her index finger is in front of it, touching her name.
  • Plot holes: Seth asked Cassiel at the beginning if he had ever thought about what it would be like to be human. Cassiel says no, but a minute later when Seth tells him he’s lying, Cassiel admits that he had. Angels in the movie can’t lie.

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