Angel is code for women’s rights.

Angel Salvadore.

She is the very first mutant that Charles and Erik recruit in First Class. They find her working as an exotic dancer at a club called Ruby’s. It’s spelled out on the cards on the table Angel is walking on. (This was corrected recently. The club name is Ruby’s, not Rodrigo’s. This is a big big clue in the websites/Kennedy assassination thing.)

When the scene opens, we see a gentleman’s club. The entire club, and all the people in it, is in black and white. The only color comes from the mutant Angel herself.

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When she finally approaches Charles and Erik, and looks down at them, the rest of the surroundings come into color.

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Whenever you see a shift like this happen in film or shows, it’s always symbolic. To explain what the significance is in this particular scene, I’ll use this quote from Warren Epstein speaking about the show Pleasantville:

“Warren Epstein of The Gazette wrote, “This use of color as a metaphor in black-and-white films certainly has a rich tradition, from the over-the-rainbow land in The Wizard of Oz to the girl in the red dress who made the Holocaust real for Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List. In Pleasantville, color represents the transformation from repression to enlightenment. People – and their surroundings – change from black-and-white to color.” (From the Pleasantville Wiki page.)

That’s exactly what is happening here. When Angel sees Charles and Erik, and acknowledges them, it’s symbolic of her move from “repression to enlightenment.”

In essence, Charles and Erik are there, together, to bust her out of the mysoginistic world she lives in. They offer her money in order to get her alone.

Angel: “For that daddy-o, you get a private dance.” Charles and Erik look into each other’s eyes, and smile.

The following scene takes place in the private room, where we see Erik and Charles laying side by side on the bed…like lovers. Angel is standing before them. What kills me about this is that it kinda looks like Erik and Charles are the King and Queen of Mutantdom, and Angel has been summoned before them for assessment.

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Angel: “You cats know it’s double for both, right?” She thinks they’re here for the same reasons all the other men are. Nope.

Charles: “Oh, that won’t be necessary, although the I’m sure it’d be magical.” (Subtext: No, we’re in love but thanks anyway. You are fabulous though. We’re actually here for a different reason.)

Erik: “We were thinking more we’ll show you ours if you show us yours.” (You show us your awesome woman powers, we’ll show you what we- a same sex couple- can do.)

Angel (still not getting it): “Baby, that is not the way it works around here.”

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So, Erik just goes for the gusto, snaps his fingers to raise the metal champagne bucket, and fills Charles’ glass. He’s not messing around.

And, if you remember…this is also where that infamous Dragneto deleted scene fits:

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Angel laughs at Charles’ image he projects into her mind of Erik in very provocative drag. (With an ensemble that resembles Raven because she is him in subtext.)

Charles to Angel: “It’s good, isn’t it?”

Erik: “What?”

Charles to Erik: “You’ve never looked more beautiful, darling.”

So, not only have they shown her they’re mutants like her, Charles has also equated them with women in general. We’re equals, he’s saying.

She hears him. “My turn.”

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Angel unhooks her top, but doesn’t remove it. She does this in order to set her wings free. Unfurl your wings, woman, and fly.

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She’s pretty happy. Of course she is. And Erik and Charles, well…they’re impressed. And to show that, they look into each other’s eyes.

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cooooorrrrelation. Beautiful, isn’t it? Women are empowered, love is free to flourish anywhere and everywhere. Oh, my heart.

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Charles: “How would you like a job where you get to keep your clothes on?” (Subtext: How would you like to be empowered to discover your full potential, and not spend your life looked at as a sex object that exists only for the male gaze?)

Well, she likes that idea because she joins the crew.

This is all a huge metaphor for women’s rights, and for the rise of feminism in the 60s, which is the era this film is depicting. Angel is the woman, also Latina I might add (because the Hispanic community definitely needs a nod here). Her wings are “bound” by the system of patriarchy around her and the stripper outfit she has to wear. Charles and Erik are not here to objectify her, they’re here to free her. They show themselves as equals- by their mutations and by equating themselves with women- and she lets her wings unfurl in all their beauty. They offer her a job where she gets to use her full potential and “keep her clothes on.”  The feminist movement has had immense direct and indirect impact on the rise of gay rights/same sex marriage, and it all started in this film’s era.

(I also quite like this as a metaphor for what female authors who write queer romance have done for the gay community. Or female activists. And the loyal female best friends of gay men everywhere. That wasn’t the intention here, I don’t think, I’m pretty much superimposing my own idea here, but I like it.)

Beautiful, isn’t it, the subtext? It’s just gorgeous.

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