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Scarlet Street

USA 1945. Dir: Fritz Lang. 102 min. DCP

Fritz Lang’s cynical, sordid noir was originally banned in several U.S. jurisdictions as indecent and immoral! After a chance meeting, unhappily married milquetoast and hobby painter Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson) becomes infatuated with seductive bad-girl Kitty March (Joan Bennett). Kitty, for her part, takes Chris for a rich and famous artist, and, conniving with her vicious pimp Johnny Prince (archetypal noir villain Dan Duryea), begins squeezing the poor sap for everything he’s got — including Chris’s suddenly-fashionable canvases (actually painted by artist John Decker). Lang’s movie, bleak and twisted in the best noir way, is dramatically photographed by veteran Milton Krasner. Jean Renoir’s 1931 film La chienne was an earlier version of the same source material. Robinson, Bennett, and Duryea had appeared in Lang’s not-dissimilar The Woman in the Window the year before.


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