A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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 »
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.
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SCARLET STREET is, no doubt, one of Hollywood's first mature forays into the relationship of a prostitute with her pimp and her client.
Until 1945, the big screen's version of a 'lady of the night' was almost waif-like in her mien, casting innocent doe-like eyes at any gentleman who would like to share "a spot of tea" for a nominal fee. As portrayed by Joan Bennett, Kitty is cool,cynical, calculating, a 'ho' who is world weary and holds no illusions. Dan Duryea as her slick, slimy pimp/boyfriend, Johnny, matches Kitty scene for scene in the seediness of their relationship. "Lazylegs" is Johnny's term of affection for his Kitty when he's not cuffing her about openly on the streets.
Then there's the third wheel to this tragic ride, Edward G. Robinson as the henpecked husband Chris Cross who also happens to be a frustrated weekend artist. Kitty sees Chris as a hearty meal ticket as Chris laps up Kitty's milk, little realizing that his dream girl is a nightmare in waiting.
Director Fritz Lang's unflinching finale leaves the viewer drained of emotion. There is no Hollywood happy ending at the end of SCARLET STREET, just a back alley of guilt, punishment and shame.
It is no coincidence that 'Melancholy Baby' is refrained throughout this flick. As played on Kitty's phonograph, the record is scratched and skips over and over at the same spot. For this recording is, like all the characters who reside on SCARLET STREET, damaged goods.
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