Since I knew this movie is a remake of Jean Renoir's La Chienne, I expected to hate it. But I have to admit it works better as a film noir. If only they had kept the original ending, it would've been a true masterpiece. But I guess with the melodramatic nature of 1940s noir and the Hays code tyranny, keeping the cynical, morally ambiguous ending was just unthinkable.
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?
(4.5 stars) Great film noir with several twists and turns along the way. Ending is particularly solid. Love watching Robinson play a bit of a meek and easy mark of a character. Great femme fatale in this one as well. Well shot and well directed by Lang. Great stuff!
On one level it's hard not to read this as a parable for the hardworking artist in Hollywood, who sells not only his soul to the dream factory but his artistic recognition too. This is noir with most of its genre trappings shaved off, leaving a quivering, pathetic tale of paranoia, desperation and despair, personified by the plebeian Chris Cross: the noir anti-hero that God forgot to boil and spat out raw.
Scarlet Street is as depressive, fatalistic and aggressive as you would expect a noir to be. With a lot of threads that are neatly tied together in a sharp finale, the strong point of the movie is its plot. To the extent that characters felt more like plot drivers than actual humans. But my biggest gripe with the film was its overt misogyny, even for a noir with masculinity as its main theme, i couldn't look past it
Scarlet street may not be as ambitious as other Lang projects, following a known Noir narrative. But what he does to maintain the craft and drama on how the narrative unfolds is a master class. He sets up the male lead with smaller touches, like not noticing how the rain has stopped in the first sequence, to portray an innocence and skewed view of the world. Lang does this just enough that the viewer is cued in.
The plot is basically straightforward but still fun to follow, thanks to some good twists. And thanks to the many spoilers in the ratings below, that made it so thrilling to wait for things to happen. Characters are the major issue of the picture: they're not much more than stereotypes, and didn't age well. Impressive performance by Robinson though, he alone makes half of the movie. Great, classy direction by Lang.
Scarlet Street: a tale of deception, infatuation and greed. Chris Cross, the main character, is unexpectedly captivating. Kitty, the object of his affection, and her antics were as enticing to an audience as they were for Chris. Her lover, Johnny, played well against Kittys character. They were an odd pairing but it worked well in giving the film comic relief when needed. Scarlet Street keeps an audience on its toes.
This film certainly has a decent plot, and Robinson's performance is positively brilliant. However, film noir is very about mood, and something is very wrong with the mood here. Compared to other noirs, the film often feels chaste, and the score is too romantic. Bennett comes off too much like the heroine of a Howard Hawks comedy, and Duryea's performance is laughably non-menacing.
The moralizing here is trite. Even if you get away with murder, you don't. Because guilt will get you. Evidently he hasn't seen 'Crimes and Misdemeanors', or 'La Chienne'. Same story. Lang used 3 of the same actors from 'The Woman in the Window' from the previous year, and gave them slightly different roles. They all had great chemistry, but Joan Bennett gets slapped around in both. Why? Because you have to, I guess.