When the timid, middle-aged Chris Cross rescues a street-walking bad girl named Kitty from the gutters of Greenwich Village, he plunges headlong into a whirlpool of lust, larceny, deception, and revenge.
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4.6 16mm. "Welp, there goes the masterpiece." Banned in cities across the US, one reason being "the failure of the characters to receive orthodox punishment from the police," yet the one of three pathetic characters who lives will carry on a life of perpetual mortification and madness. No heroes. And did any other major film before Psycho imply such a toilet scene, which here, happens to be the disposal of a flower?
If someone were to bump off The Big Heat, this would be Fritz Lang's greatest American work, starting as a kind of dark screwball comedy and ending as an even darker noir of murder and derangement. Along the way, it gives an eloquent treatise on art: on the relation between art and reality, and on how art originates and gets exploited. Some of Lang's best scenes, most perverse characters, and brilliant sound design.
Solid noir from Lang that reteams the director with the stars of 'The Woman in the Window' with a diminished result. Joan Bennett's femme fatale here manipulates Robinson into betraying his wife, his employer and worse his artistic spirit while being conned herself by a lousy lover boy. The script is a little weak but surpassed by performance given. ' ....they're gonna be masterpieces...'
If it weren't for Fritz Lang's talent, and the perfectly executed noir aesthetic, the film would be pretty middle of the road. Psychologically dark, verging on incisive, but too steeped in straightforward moralism to be subversive or particularly interesting.
the insidious effects of capitalism on lower class citizens coupled with the debasing gender politics of masculinity. one of the most powerful portraits of fatalism put to screen. lang turns the standard noir narrative on its head, running backwards, speaking a language it never practiced, with edward g. robinson's visage being the very canvas exploited to maximum effect.
"He did not wear his scarlet coat, / For blood and wine are red, / And blood and wine were on his hands / When they found him with the dead, / The poor dead woman whom he loved, / And murdered in her bed."
Every character is both a victim and a hangman: everyone is guilty, yet we love them all. Tragedy at its maximum dramatic complexity and emotional devastation. Illusions, masks, change of identities, corruption, love, humilliation, revenge, guilt, impotence, art, masculinity, violence. Lang, the pessimist, condemns everyone. Even the dead torment the living. Pure metaphysical ressonance: the Horror of Evil in men.
Life is doomed for someone who puts passion above reason. Edward G. Robinson once more plays with perfection the sap in love with Joan Bennet. Fate and circumstances are so cruel to him that, even when he does things wrong, one can only feel a deep compassion towards him.