Reviews of The Woman in the Window
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There have been quite a few complaints about the “cliched” end so i thought I would add my bit. I feel indeed that this is one of the very few movies in which this particular cliche is rejuvenated. It works! On the one hand you can see it as a contrived ending tacked on to deflate the crazy plot. But this might, I suggest, be a very conventional reaction to this particular convention and fails to notice just what the dream vs. reality does for this particular movie.
Indeed Fritz Lang explained the last scene as a quite conscious choice – he did not want to make yet another movie (like his German scripts) about impersonal fate and how a few moments inattention damn a man. So WITH the last scene, which again is one of the few I-woke-up-from-a-dream endings that work, the movie becomes far more complex; and a middle aged intellectual, solidly bourgeois, and his humdrum somewhat comic life is how very clearly juxtaposed against his repressed dream of tragic eros, danger & death. Idealization is contrasted with reality and this gap made the focus of the movie. The difference between his wife and Joan Bennett, between professorial didacticism (the movie starts with this) at one remove from participation in life and full immersion in life in all its dark glamour.
I for one would have the movie no other way!
The ending aside, the rest of the movie is classic Langian manipulation of the viewer into complex and partly guilty emotions (e.g. when the blackmailer searches through Bennett’s room and viewer’s negative stance towards the guy is steadily increased), symbolism worn lightly and fantastic camerawork.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
It is always nice to see actors cast in unusual, non-typical roles (as happened with Ernest Borgnine in Marty or the Duke in the Quiet Man). For once, Edward G. Robinson is allowed play an “innocent” professor instead of the badguy. The movie is a pitch-black noir with all the elements that make this genre so great. Dead-pan humour, a femme fatale, shady characters and lots fo lurking in shadows and rain, rain, rain. Alas, I found that Dun Duryea could not fill his role with enough menace to make it trukly daunting, but that is not too bad a thing.
However, the ending is a joke and terribly executed. True, it does not make the film any worse but it leaves you with a screwy aftertaste and knocked down my rating quiet a bit.
A solid film noir that is boosted by relying on genre parameters but fails to deliver a satisfying ending.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.