Scarlet Street (1945)
Article 5574 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Fritz Lang
Featuring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea
What it is: Film noir
A meek and married bank teller becomes infatuated with an attractive woman when he drives away her attacker, not knowing that the woman’s attacker was her boyfriend. To impress her, he leaves her with the impression he is a famous artist. The woman’s boyfriend talks her into milking the teller for all he’s worth…
I honestly didn’t think I’d be covering this movie when I began to watch it, but towards the end of the movie, the protagonist finds himself tormented by the voices of the dead. Though we know the voices are in his own mind, that still gave me enough in the way of fantastic content (albeit marginal) to give me an excuse to cover it. Yes, I could have just added it to my marginalia category, but I wanted to cover it, if for no other reason that it is a collaboration between one of my favorite directors (Fritz Lang) and one of my favorite actors (Edward G. Robinson). The latter seems initially to be cast against type as the bank teller, but as the story progresses, it prepares us for the violence that will ultimately erupt. Robinson, Bennett and Duryea are all excellent. I’ve loved this movie ever since I first saw it, and I find the final scene in the movie to be heartbreaking. In one regard, it reminds me of Lang’s earlier movie FURY, in that he has to do a little twisting at the end to make the movie fit in with the demands of the Hays Office, but he does it very effectively here. It’s a lesser known film noir, but one of my personal favorites.