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by Fritz Lang
Publication date 1945
Topics Film-Noir, Drama, Black Comedy, Fritz Lang
Publisher Universal Pictures
Digitizing sponsor k-otic.com
German director Fritz Lang is best known for the highly influential films from relatively early in his career, especially Metropolis (1927) and M (1931).
But he also had a brief Hollywood heyday during the mid 1940s, when he made some of his best films.
Scarlet Street has been claimed by film noir.
This attribution is understandable.
The lighting is dark, with heavy use of shadows.
The characters are all shady as well.
Kitty is certainly a femme fatale, although hints are dropped that she is an inherently decent person who has become completely corrupted by Johnny.
Being the most naive, Robinson is also the most sympathetic.
But even he eventually turns to crime to fulfill his passions.
But while Scarlet Street has elements of film noir, it is in reality a black comedy.
While Robinson plays it straight throughout, Bennett and Duryea camp it up marvelously.
Bennett laughs when Robinson claims to be a painter: “And here I had you pegged as a cashier!” She also has to suppress laughter when Robinson reveals that he is married, and shock when Duryea passes her off as the mysterious painter.