Joan Bennett's reflection and a painting of Joan Bennett in The Woman in the Window (dir. Fritz Lang, 1944).
Dan Duryea and Joan Bennett.
Edward G. Robinson.
Fritz Lang made The Woman in the Window the year before Scarlet Street, which also featured Robinson, Bennett, and Duryea. Their stories are similar: in both, Robinson plays a sensitive soul drawn by a romantic obsession with a woman in a painting into a dark and sordid world of prostitution and murder. Window is even more harrowing than Street for most of its running time. Anne actually had to stop watching about halfway through, as the tension was just too much. She says that Lang was insane and had a sick soul. Well, yeah. She stopped watching just before Duryea came on and did his reptilian blackmailer bit. "You have to watch, it's Dan Duryea!" I said, but to no avail.
There is a plot turn in Window that is bound to infuriate anyone who loves noir, or just self-respecting screenwriting. I'm trying to convince myself that this particular turn is actually a wry bit of intentional self-subversion (as Spencer Selby argues here), but it's hard.
Watch for a young Robert Blake as the Professor's son, and George "Spanky" McFarland as an intrepid boy scout (in an inspired comic scene).
Labels: Fritz Lang