“Scarlet Street” And Its Allure

For a long time the noir item, Scarlet Street (1945), is to me interestingly artificial and almost quaint as it focuses on an innocent played by Edward G. Robinson who falls in love with an alluring slugabed (Joan Bennett).  Er, well, she’s not just an alluring slugabed:  she’s doing the will of a reprehensible con artist (Dan Duryea).  By and by the flick, directed by Fritz Lang, grows much less artificial (or stylized) and its almost-quaintness disappears.

SS is based on Jean Renoir’s La Chienne, itself based on a novel, and it is as sexy, nice-looking and perceptively cast as it is unoriginal.  Robinson knew how to enact an innocent—one who is foolish and finally miserable.  Duryea is never false with his two-faced character, not even when he abuses his glamorous girlfriend, Bennett.  The powerfully feminine Joan, with fine range, is the best thing about the film.

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