6.7/10
950
27 user 25 critic

Slightly Scarlet (1956)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 February 1956 (USA)
An urban wheeler-dealer gets involved in organized crime, corrupt city politics and graft while falling in-love with the fiancée of the newly elected mayor.

Director:

Allan Dwan

Writers:

Robert Blees (screen play), James M. Cain (novel)
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Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Payne ... Ben Grace
Rhonda Fleming ... June Lyons
Arlene Dahl ... Dorothy Lyons
Kent Taylor ... Frank Jansen
Ted de Corsia ... Solly Caspar
Lance Fuller ... Gauss
Buddy Baer ... Lenhardt
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Storyline

Kleptomaniac Dorothy Lyons is paroled from prison in custody of her sister June, secretary to "reform" political candidate Frank Jansen. Ben Grace, associate of crime boss Sol Caspar, sees this as a way to smear Jansen's campaign. But after falling out with Caspar, Ben tries to help June, who he begins to fall for. Sexy Dorothy also has a yen for Ben. June is reluctantly forced to go along with Ben's schemes, but there may be more to these than meets the eye... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

James M. Cain's scorchingly frank expose of the operators behind big-city graft See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arlene Dahl offered to play cards to Rhonda Fleming to determine who would be the first on the poster. Dahl won the game, and in return demanded that Fleming be the first in the credits of the film. Fleming was very touched by this attention and the two actresses became good friends. See more »

Goofs

Very early in the film, just after Dorothy Lyons has been released from prison, Ben Grace is in police Lt. Dietz's office discussing Dorothy Lyons. The lieutenant is perusing Miss Lyons criminal file which the viewer can briefly view. At the top of the document a spelling error displays her name as "Dorthy Lyons" instead of Dorothy Lyons. See more »

Quotes

Solly Caspar: Let's see if we can beat him down.
[after throwing a body out of an upper story window]
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Connections

Featured in Doctors: Being Witched (2016) See more »

User Reviews

 
Amazing cinematography and art direction in late noirish melodrama
25 October 2009 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

Anyone remotely interested in cinematography and art direction should see this. John Alton, chiefly famous for his work in black and white, here switches to livid colour and achieves some of the most daring and moody effects ever known in colour films. This was a decade before 'flashing' the film became popular (a technique developed by Freddie Young, who told me all about it at the time he began the trend, with Lumet's 'Deadly Affair'). Everything here is so vivid, and the games played with colour in choice of sofas, walls, carpets, not to mention hair, are so intense, that the film is really chiefly of interest for all of that. Alton had to work only with variations in lighting, not with film processing possibilities. What he did is incredibly audacious, worth watching over and over just to study it. He has whole figures in shadow, and faces often are eclipsed by darkness in a bright room. It is really an incredibly dazzling display of virtuosity and genius. The two lead gals have matching hair, which plays well on the sets. Rhonda Fleming was a notorious strawberry blonde, and although I seem to recall that Arlene Dahl was really a normal blonde and presumably had her hair died to match Fleming's for this film, here they are very like the sisters they play indeed, with matching peachy hair and bright blue eyes. It is all a symphony of light and dark and colour combinations, like a modernist painting. The story is tepid, diluted from a James Cain novel about city corruption and crime. Arlene Dahl is not very convincing as a kleptomaniac siren who is supposed to be deeply psychologically disturbed (that part only comes out at the end, though we know about the thefts from the beginning, as the film begins with her coming out of prison). Rhonda Fleming swings her hefty bust around with confidence, and glares with her blue eyes at people as she challenges them, which with her fiery nature she does a lot. Into this mix comes a very seedy character played by John Payne, who by this time was really getting a little too old for such roles, nice fellow though he was. However, a sufficiently noirish tale ensues which is worth watching, though it is not a proper film noir, but merely has certain elements of that left, as the mid-1950s were asserting themselves, and people were getting more interested in Debbie Reynolds and Doris Day, and the War was a fading memory, and even the Korean War was passé by this time. Yes, things were changing, people were getting cheerier and more bourgeois by the minute, and gloom was no longer so popular, or must be relegated to horror films instead. Time to lighten up! So this is an interesting historical curiosity, a lingering shadow cast over the smiling face of a complacent Middle America which was just settling down to a nice long afternoon nap which would last until the sixties.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Slightly Scarlet See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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