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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.


Fritz Lang


Georges de La Fouchardière (novel) (as Georges De La Fouchardiere), André Mouëzy-Éon (novel) (as Mouezy-Eon) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »




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


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


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


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. 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 »


[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]
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Featured in Deadly Delusion (2017) See more »


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

User Reviews

If he were mean or vicious or if he'd bawl me out or something, I'd like him better.
6 September 2009 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Christopher Cross, in middle aged, and in a life going nowhere and devoid of love and inspiration. Till one evening he rescues Kitty March from a mugger, it's the start of a relationship that has far reaching consequences for them, and those closest to them.

The previous year director Fritz Lang had made The Woman In The Window, a film that was hugely popular with critics and fans alike. Here he reunites from that excellent film with Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea, the result being what can arguably be described as one of the best exponents of Film Noir's dark sensibilities. Adapting from works by André Mouézy-Éon and Georges de La Fouchardière (novel and play), this story of desperate love and greedy deceit had already had a big screen adaptation from Jean Renoir in 1931 as La chienne, which appropriately enough translates as The Bitch! Now there's a Noir title if ever there was one! What Lang does with this adaptation is drip his own expressionism all over it, whilst crucially he doesn't ease off from the harsher aspects of the story. This is nasty, cruel stuff, and with Lang at the time feeling a bit abused and used by the studio system he was slave to, who better to darkly cloak a sordid story with a biting edge? Is it purely coincidence that Lang took on this film about a struggling artist who's vision is stifled by another? Possibly not one is inclined to feel.

Edward G. Robinson is fabulous as the pathetic Chris Cross. Married to a wife who constantly heckles and belittles him (Rosalind Ivan), Robinson's take on Cross garners empathy by the shed load, so much so that once Kitty (Bennett) and her beau, Johnny Prince (Duryea), start to scheme a scam on Chris, the audience are feeling as desperate as Cross was himself at the start of the movie. Few noir guys have so meekly fell under a femme fatale's spell as the way Cross does for Kitty here. But such is Lang's atmospherics, you not only sense that it's going to go bad, you expect it to, and naturally Robinson is just the man to punch us in the guts with added impetus. Bennett and Duryea are very convincing, almost spitefully enjoying taking the hapless Robinson character for everything they can, and the visuals, especially during the bleak, shadowy last couple of reels, cap the mood perfectly.

This film is in truth probably saying more about its director than anything else that he made. And in fact it was said to be one of his all time favourites. That's nice to find out because it finds him on particularly good, and yes, devilish form. Grim, brilliant and essential film noir. 9/10

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

28 December 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Scarlet Street See more »


Box Office


$1,202,007 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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