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.
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.
Beautifully lit and carefully composed shots that makes you appreciative of black-and-white films once again...One of the things that makes this film so entertaining to watch is the villainous characters, because albeit being played theatrically, each character is unapologetically human, something we rarely see in today's Hollywood films.
The last 20 minutes of this were some of the best noir moments put to screen. Scarlet Street gives you one of the most devilish femmes ever and a finale that proves there are worse fates than jail or death. You can feel the outcome coming but it doesn't make the downfall any softer to handle. Lang is a genius.
4.5 Hard to watch Robinson as a man who's played for a fool; he does a great job acting against his usual type. Super stuff about gender roles (masculine/feminine, active/passive)--from the apron he wears to wash dishes, to the "masculine energy" of her painting. Robinson is emasculated by everyone, until he takes action by killing. Guilty conscience argument appears too late in film. Idea should appear earlier.
"Don't paint her Chris!" A classic with one hell of a ending. Joan Bennett is gorgeous as usual; Edward G. Robinson playing against type which is refreshing to see, and the oily Dan Duryea causing problems for three's company. Also, check out Fritz Lang's earlier film, The Woman In The Window, staring the same actors and involving of all things, a painting!
Possibly the best of Lang's post-war films, it has a heart of darkness that fits the auteur's gloomy exterior. What starts as a tale of grifters conning a schlubby artist wannabee becomes a meditation on immorality that makes no easy judgments on the characters' tragically bad decisions. While film noir legend Robinson shines as always, Dan Duryea provides wiseguy comic relief that was his personal trademark.