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Scarlet Street (1945)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 28 December 1945 (USA)
When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of the fortune they mistakenly assume he possesses.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Georges de La Fouchardière (novel) (as Georges De La Fouchardiere), André Mouézy-Éon (novel) (as Mouezy-Eon) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Christopher Cross
Joan Bennett ... Katharine 'Kitty' March
Dan Duryea ... Johnny Prince
Margaret Lindsay ... Millie Ray
Rosalind Ivan ... Adele Cross
Jess Barker ... Damon Janeway
Charles Kemper ... Homer Higgins
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 »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 December 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Almas Perversas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,202,007 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,948,386, 31 December 1945
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of Fritz Lang's personal favorites of his own films. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent noir by a master
5 August 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Fritz Lang does a wonderful job directing "Scarlet Street," a true film noir from 1945 starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea. A miserable, henpecked man, Chris (Robinson) falls in love with a prostitute, Kitty, and she starts milking him for money with the encouragement of her abusive boyfriend Johnny (Duryea). Chris is a cashier who has just reached his 25th year of service; he's also a part-time painter. He steals bonds from his wife, who is the widow of a police detective, and sets Kitty up in an apartment where he can also paint since all his wife does is complain about him cluttering up their place. He believes that Kitty is an actress and that Johnny is the boyfriend of Kitty's ex-roommate. You really want to slap him. His stealing escalates; meanwhile, Johnny and Kitty are passing his art work off as Kitty's, and she's making a name for herself. Instead of killing her then and there, Chris is happy about it, believing that he's a failure and could never have sold a painting, and continues providing her with art work. We assume she and Johnny are getting the money.

Alas, there probably are desperately lonely and unhappy men like Chris with footprints all over their bodies, though Chris seems pretty gullible even by 1945 standards. Robinson, however, does a fantastic job in helping us understand why Chris is the way he is. He's a simple, shy, self-effacing man who just wants someone to love him and enjoy his hobby of painting, and Kitty pays lip service to that while she's sleeping with Johnny. It seems that just to bask in her presence is enough for Chris.

Using the backdrop of New York City, Lang has directed this with magnificent style and flair, making it one of the most famous noirs of all time. And the performances are top notch. It's amazing how much Joan and Constance Bennett looked alike when they were both blond, but they were very different actresses. Constance had a great deal of sophistication; Joan did better playing tramps. She had a low voice and could be very sexy, and she made a stunning brunette. I saw her in person in the late '80s and was surprised at how tiny she was given how tall she looks here. If anyone has seen the "Gone with the Wind" screen tests, she was one of the most beautiful Scarletts. Here she's very convincing talking out of both sides of her mouth, telling Chris that she loves him and Johnny that she loves him. Duryea is phenomenal as a very unlikable con man, and the two make a great couple.

But the character of sad Chris hangs over the film due to Robinson's performance with his shy smile and nervous manner. When his anger emerges, it's years and years worth of it. Unfortunately, he's basically too good a man not to hate himself for actions committed in a rage, and in true Hollywood fashion, he goes the way of most men who let themselves be made fools of by women.

A really, really great film. Lang was difficult to get along with, and as the studio system diminished, the powers that be were less willing to put up with him, so his last Hollywood films can't compare with those he did at the top. This is top Lang. Don't miss it.


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