Scarlet Street 1945 ★★★★½

If he were mean or vicious or if he'd bawl me out or something, I'd like him better.
-Kitty March

Fantastic film-noir by Fritz Lang. It has the same three leads from his prior film, The Woman in the Window, which I really liked but was disappointed with the ending. This time around I was completely satisfied from beginning to end.

What I love so much about this movie is the character Edward G. Robinson plays, Christopher Cross. He's a pathetic man that gets taken advantage of by a ruthless couple, Kitty and Johnny. What the couple doesn't know however is how close to the edge this sheepish unassuming man is. As the viewer you see the whole picture and are able to see the signs of things to come while Kitty only sees him in one light because he's so infatuated with her.

Kitty and Johnny are also great characters too. Kitty, played by Joan Bennett, is the quintessential film-noir femme fatale while Johnny (Dan Duryea) is the perfect grinning bastard that will screw you over just because he can. No scene is boring when either one of them is in it.

I just think everything else about this film is great. The story, dialogue, directing, the deeply flawed characters, the entire style of the movie ... I just really loved all of it.

13 Comments

  • The acting really sucks in this one, and the editing is noticeably sloppy at times, but the story is pretty sweet and the climax is amazing.

  • I thought the acting was pretty much on par with most 1930s films. Especially liked Joan Bennett.

  • It some cases, yes, but I watched The Maltese Falcon after seeing this and that just utterly blew this one away in terms of sheer acting competence.

    The guy who played Johnny especially irked me. The woman gave a pretty fair performance, and Edward G. Robinson was his usually amazing self.

  • After putting that in... I was like wait... this film is from the 40s lol. Anyways, either way everything is subjective to the viewer.

  • Seeing Robinson playing a character like this is almost disturbing... I mean it's friggin Rico from Little Caesar! How can he be so pathetic!

  • While it is true that bad acting doesn't bother the same people in the same way, I'd say Duryea is certainly no Brando.

    And Robinson's character in this movie has to be the most pathetic character I've ever seen in any movie.

  • As weird as this is going to sound, the pathetic character is why I enjoyed it so much. Most film noir have a protagonist that is a bad ass, in this one we have a sheepish loser that has a miserable existence that Kitty and Johnny see as easy pickings... but they don't know how close he is to the edge before they even showed up. I think Maltese Falcon is pretty much a masterpiece, but the reason I like this one is because it's the polar opposite to that film if you're comparing the protagonists.

  • Joan Bennett is drop dead gorgeous in this. I know has no effect on the rating... just felt like I had to mention it lol.

  • Ok... I haven't watched the movie in a while... what signs are you talking about when talking about the Robinson character?

  • Well... uh... SPOILER WARNING..... I guess...

    Basically Robinson's character (Cross) shows signs that he pretty much wants to murder his wife. Starts off with just little quips he says, like the one about a man in this country not being able to get away with murder... and later on physical signs. He gets pretty close to actually doing it, but then other events happen... and then well... yeah lol.

  • I'm not even sure I got that when I watched it lol

  • I'm a sucker for stuff like that. Movies that insert little things about character that you viewers may get or may not. I'm sure there's tones of movies I've seen where I didn't notice stuff like that.

  • There is nothing wrong with the acting in this movie. This is one of the most analyzed film-noirs ever because of the characters, in particular Chris Cross.

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