Scarlet Street (1945) 1080p

Movie Poster
Scarlet Street (1945) 1080p bluray - Movie Poster
Drama | Film-Noir
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
102 min
IMDB Rating:
7.8 / 10 
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Directors: Fritz Lang [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Chris Cross, 25 years a cashier, has a gold watch and little else. That rainy night, he rescues delectable Kitty from her abusive boyfriend Johnny. Smitten, amateur painter Chris lets Kitty think he's a wealthy artist. At Johnny's urging, she lets Chris establish her in an apartment (with his shrewish wife's money). There, Chris paints masterpieces; but Johnny sells them under Kitty's name, with disastrous and ironic results.


  • Scarlet Street (1945) 1080p bluray - Movie Scene 1
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  • Scarlet Street (1945) 1080p bluray - Movie Scene 1

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"I just put a line around what I feel"

Everyone with a bit of classic film knowledge will know about Hollywood movies acquiring a cynical streak in the 40s and 50s. The plot of a picture like Scarlet Street has been analysed into banality for various psychological readings over the years, but there is little about its story that is unique to what we call film noir. It is in any case a rough remake of the earlier French film La Chienne, itself based on a novel, and a silent American picture called The Whispering Chorus (1918) has many similarities. What is so striking about Scarlet Street, and so many other noirs, is not the themes of the story but the way it is told. Cinema is, after all, about images.

A lot of the look of pictures from this time is down to the circumstances of the war, when resources for film making were at a severe low point. Even prestigious wartime productions like For Whom the Bell Tolls and Since You Went Away while epic in length take place on a few small and poorly-lit sets, and aren't exactly bustling with extras. Now take a little production like Scarlet Street which would receive an even smaller allocation, and by necessity you must film it in tiny cramped sets shrouded in darkness, or dark street corners devoid of passers-by. Of course, poverty-row pictures have existed in every era, but I think the thing that distinguishes ones like this is that they worked sensibly within their limited parameters. A B-Western from the 30s or a trashy sci-fi from the 50s would aim high and thus look very cheap. A picture like Scarlet Street aims low and thus looks appropriately atmospheric.

If ever there was a director to wring a nightmarish feel from the simplest of elements it was Fritz Lang. He actually makes a virtue of Scarlet Street's low production values, shrouding many of the scenes in a cloak of darkness. Take the squalid bar where the two leads go for their first drink together. The standard way to dress that set would be to fill it with mean-looking riffraff. Instead, dark and all but deserted, it has the atmosphere of a graveyard. And yet Lang's compositions arrange the sparse set decoration into complex patterns, making everywhere look like some horrid maze. Scarlet Street also contains some fine examples of Lang's use of imagery to make us understand a character's mindset. When Edward G. Robinson explains that when he looks at the dilapidated flower he "sees" the ornate one he has painted, there is an attention-grabbing whip pan to the real flower balanced on the edge of a grimy basin. In the following scene there is a jarring cut as Joan Bennett throws her cigarette in a sink full of dirty crocks. The similarity of these two images, and the way we are made to pay attention to them, gives us a subtle link between Robinson seeing beauty in the wilted flower, and seeing worth in Bennett.

It's odd how Lang's pictures normally featured quite overblown hammy performances, whereas here the three main players are all nicely understated. Eddie Robinson, normally a brash wise-cracker, does an excellent and rather poignant job of the sensitive and self-effacing Chris Cross, very subtle and very believable. Joan Bennett is great too, making us believe in both the low-down floozy who loves a gangster and the sweet, innocent lass Robinson worships. And then there is another fabulous turn by Dan Duryea, who always seemed a bit of a caricature because of his mischievous face and sly voice, but could be a very effective villain when he underplayed it, giving the impression of a creepy man who is capable of sinister acts. In fact, Duryea is in constant danger of stealing the picture, and Lang wisely puts his back to the camera in a lot of scenes to stop him upstaging the leads.

Of course, the real question is, does all the business of Scarlet Street work? It does indeed. The story may have been old, but this version of it has a unique atmospheric veneer which makes it chill the heart and linger in the mind. This is how great film noir works.

Pure Noir!

A film about human nature. A film about how things usually doesn't work out. Compelling, enthralling, never predictable and filled with dark humor, this Fritz Lang's masterpiece is must see.

A middle aged sad and spiritually lonely banker with miserable marriage saves a girl from the mugger. After the small conversation the girl understands that his Savior is a rich painter. The poor banker wants to meet her again and the girl's fiancée tries to find a way how to slowly extort the money from the banker. And all this deceiving can begin.

And you can never think how things are going onwards. This is the movie that todays filmmakers have to take as an example how to build up an interesting plot. No way you can predict what happens next and even if you see one step ahead then the bigger surprise will be the next one.

Fritz Lang nails it all. Edward G. Robinson is terrific in the role of banker Chris. So is Rosalind Ivan as his nagging wife.

Scarlet Street must have on of the most horrifying endings of all time. Beside the creeps it gives you (that many horror films fail to do) it has an message to tell: you can never get away with anything!

Late Expressionism, Early Noir--incredible plot, amazing movie

Scarlet Street (1945)

It starts slowly, with little bits of intrigue and a lot of empathy for Edward G. Robinson's character, Chris Cross, a lonely cashier with dreams of being in love. And then he sees a man hitting a young woman on the street, and he rushes to help her. Things start a torturous, complicated, fabulous decline from there. The woman sees how Cross finds her beautiful, but Cross, it turns out, is unhappily married. And petty, selfish cruelty turns to many worse things.

Fritz Lang, the Austrian director now firmly settled into Hollywood, is not known for cheerful movies (he directed M, for one), and this one draws on so much empathy, and heartbreak, and finally downright shock and surprise, it's breathtaking. Great film-making, beautiful and relentless. The woman, Joan Bennett, comes alive on the screen, duplicitous and raw. Her boyfriend, Dan Duryea, is perfect Duryea, clever and annoying and as usual, coming out less than rosy.

The cinematographer, Milton Krasner, has so many richly brooding and dramatic films to his credit, it's almost a given that we will be invisibly swept into every scene (and much of the action takes place in an apartment almost tailor made for great filming, with glass doors, and two levels to look up or down from). The story is key, based on a novel by Georges de La Fouchardière, little known here, but he wrote "La Chienne," the basis for Jean Renoir's second film (1931), where the film announces to the audience that it is about, "He, she, and the other guy . . . as usual." And that describes Scarlet Street just as well, for starters.

Lang is credited as one of the key shapers of the film noir style, and that certainly applies visually. It lacks that film noir key of a young man at odds with post-War America, but it does have a man, alone, at odds with the world. Chris Cross is a pathetic creature, far more naive than most of us could ever be, but yet we identify with him because he represents innocence swept up in a world more sinister than we expect. He's a victim, in a way, but also the cause of his own troubles.

And troubles they are. What a story, what a film. Dark, wrenching, and unpredictable. Very Fritz Lang.
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