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Scarlet Street (1945)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 8,438 users  
Reviews: 110 user | 68 critic

When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of some of the fortune she thinks he has.

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Title: Scarlet Street (1945)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Dan Duryea ...
...
Rosalind Ivan ...
Jess Barker ...
Charles Kemper ...
Anita Sharp-Bolster ...
Mrs. Michaels (as Anita Bolster)
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Charles Pringle
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Pop LeJon
Arthur Loft ...
Dellarowe
Russell Hicks ...
J.J. Hogarth
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Storyline

Chris Cross, 25 years a cashier, has a gold watch and little else. That rainy night, he rescues delectable Kitty from her abusive boyfriend Johnny. Smitten, amateur painter Chris lets Kitty think he's a wealthy artist. At Johnny's urging, she lets Chris establish her in an apartment (with his shrewish wife's money). There, Chris paints masterpieces; but Johnny sells them under Kitty's name, with disastrous and ironic results. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The GREAT STARS and DIRECTOR of "Woman in the Window" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Almas Perversas  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Twelve paintings done for the film by John Decker were sent to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for exhibition in March of 1946. See more »

Goofs

The story takes place in 1934, but all of Margaret Lindsay's and Joan Bennett's clothes, shoes and hairstyles are strictly in the 1945 mode, which had considerably changed during the intervening eleven years. The featured taxicab is of late 1930s vintage, about three years too new. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bank Employees: [singing] For he's a jolly good fellow. For he's a jolly good fellow. For he's a jolly good fellow... which nobody can deny. Which nobody can deny. Which nobody can deny. Which nobody can deny.
[repeat chorus]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.5 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Melancholy Baby
by Ernie Burnett and George A. Norton
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Late Expressionism, Early Noir--incredible plot, amazing movie
5 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Scarlet Street (1945)

It starts slowly, with little bits of intrigue and a lot of empathy for Edward G. Robinson's character, Chris Cross, a lonely cashier with dreams of being in love. And then he sees a man hitting a young woman on the street, and he rushes to help her. Things start a torturous, complicated, fabulous decline from there. The woman sees how Cross finds her beautiful, but Cross, it turns out, is unhappily married. And petty, selfish cruelty turns to many worse things.

Fritz Lang, the Austrian director now firmly settled into Hollywood, is not known for cheerful movies (he directed M, for one), and this one draws on so much empathy, and heartbreak, and finally downright shock and surprise, it's breathtaking. Great film-making, beautiful and relentless. The woman, Joan Bennett, comes alive on the screen, duplicitous and raw. Her boyfriend, Dan Duryea, is perfect Duryea, clever and annoying and as usual, coming out less than rosy.

The cinematographer, Milton Krasner, has so many richly brooding and dramatic films to his credit, it's almost a given that we will be invisibly swept into every scene (and much of the action takes place in an apartment almost tailor made for great filming, with glass doors, and two levels to look up or down from). The story is key, based on a novel by Georges de La Fouchardière, little known here, but he wrote "La Chienne," the basis for Jean Renoir's second film (1931), where the film announces to the audience that it is about, "He, she, and the other guy . . . as usual." And that describes Scarlet Street just as well, for starters.

Lang is credited as one of the key shapers of the film noir style, and that certainly applies visually. It lacks that film noir key of a young man at odds with post-War America, but it does have a man, alone, at odds with the world. Chris Cross is a pathetic creature, far more naive than most of us could ever be, but yet we identify with him because he represents innocence swept up in a world more sinister than we expect. He's a victim, in a way, but also the cause of his own troubles.

And troubles they are. What a story, what a film. Dark, wrenching, and unpredictable. Very Fritz Lang.


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