A stunner, even by Lang's Hollywood standards (and it don't get much better than Hollywood Fritz). We have a marvelously appalling vision of (psycho)sexual détente, leading to a happy ending that is just delightfully horrifying. We also have an extraordinary sense of prime directorial craft married to excellent work from collaborators (photography and production design especially). Yo. Straight up masterpiece, son.
This would be so great even without the Joan Bennett voiceover, but wow am I glad they included that, I love her voice, help me. Anyway, the premise of this movie is stupid and also extremely fantastic, and being a Fritz Lang movie obviously everything else is ditto. I love that they went all the way and included a Mrs. Danvers 2.0, to the point where she's already survived the house fire (and then starts another!)
daffodils, red carnations, and lilacs...Joan Bennett's voice-overs are otherworldly. Fascinating and flawed, the film suffers from a strangely obvious Freudian project, which acts forcefully on the ending. But the richness lies in the complexity of desire: the act of watching and being watched, the intermingling of eroticism and sadism, and Bennett's powerful attraction to death.
Why do so many great movies from the forties end so ungracefully?! Apart from screeching to a slightly unsatisfying halt, this was great. Like a smoothie of thriller, horror, melodrama with some Freudian shenanigans sprinkled on top. It feels like Lang might have suffered some studio tinkering but it seems almost worth it as the results are dream-like and psychologically perverse! Also Miklós Rózsa is wickles.
If not on the level of Lang's other productions with Bennett, this film is still much more enjoyable than its reputation would suggest. As others have said, Cortez's cinematography is just spellbinding, and the leads (who do what they can with the dodgier, i.e. Freudian, aspects of the screenplay) can't be bettered.
Fourth and last of Lang's string of Joan Bennett noirs, with our lady marrying mysterious Michael Redgrave and finding his obsession with murder quite peculiar. Not Lang's best American film, but the photography by master Stanley Cortez keeps things looking great.
One of Lang's best, and most underrated films. I like it because it reminds me a lot of his German films in the way it's bold, fantastic and melodramatic. It's so visually and atmospherically overwhelming. The psychology is questionable, but it's great storytelling none the less.
It's compelling for the Freudian impulses it volleys back and forth, the off-kilter atmosphere is something to be admired, and the plot picks up for a stronger second half. But Lang films always have great atmosphere, and they've had better scripts—ones that work as drama as well as allegory.
Psychoanalytical and Gothic Film Noir. The crazy architecture of the Lamphere mansion is one of the many reasons you have to see this masterpiece. Note that a superb DVD of this movie is available in France with a 60 minutes interview between Fritz Lang and Jean-Luc Godard.