Coming home late from a party at work where he’s been awarded for 25 years of loyal service as a cashier, Edward G. Robinson (Chris Cross) knocks down a man (pimp Dan Duryea) beating up a woman (prostitute Joan Bennett). The shot below sums up so much about Cross… stunned, afraid, a little reckless but arms crossed defensively.
He walks the girl home, and she pretends to like him suspecting he’s a rich artist, an idea he encourages. And the stage is set for all of their demises. A murder, an execution, a long-lost husband, lots of lying and cheating, and Chris’s total ruin will follow.
Gotta be one of the best film-noirs I’ve ever seen, and one of the best Fritz Lang movies. Unexpectedly greater than The Big Heat. Gets sad at the end… poor Chris doesn’t deserve his fate.
Michael Grost says: “Scarlet Street (1945) is a remake of Jean Renoir’s picture La Chienne (1931). The most important immediate difference between the pictures is one of tone and attitude towards the characters. Renoir’s film is a kinky black comedy about a pair of sexy low lifes who humiliate a middle aged man. It is basically a sexual fantasy. Lang’s picture is a tale of paranoia, how a pair of disgusting human beings, and fate itself, persecute an innocent man. Lang strips most of the sexiness from the crooked couple in the picture. Instead he and scenarist Dudley Nichols emphasize their sheer awfulness.”
Thought of as a sorta companion film to his 1944’s Woman in the Window, a noir with the same three actors which I remember liking a lot.
Wasn’t paying attention while the commentary played, but it mentioned Matthew Bernstein.
A woman in the window:
A sad man: