Scarlet Street

Screening on Film
Directed by Fritz Lang.
With Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea.
US, 1945, 35mm, black & white, 102 min.

Working with unusual creative control under the auspices of the independent production company, Diana Pictures, Lang reconvened the cast of The Woman in the Window for this remarkably harsh adaptation of Jean Renoir’s La Chienne. Stripped of his earlier character’s semblance of dignity, Edward G. Robinson’s browbeaten cashier and amateur painter is readily deceived by Joan Bennett’s femme fatale and Dan Duryea’s reptilian pimp. A masterpiece of formal construction in which “nothing takes place only once” (Tom Conley), Scarlet Street’s incisive mise-en-scene inscribes the pathological drama inside a maze of misleading appearances. The film’s barely concealed elements of masochism and voyeurism outraged the censors, and yet not even the Legion of Decency could have devised a more punitive denouement.

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The Complete Fritz Lang

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The Dark Worlds of Fritz Lang – Part Two

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