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NEW Scarlet Street (1945) (DVD)

3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 3.49
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It takes a Village. March 18 2003
By A Customer
Greenwich Village, that is, which we learn was home to "hop-heads" and "long-hairs" in 1945 (!) Fritz Lang's masterpiece tells the story of a middle-aged bank clerk (Edward G. Robinson, dependably brilliant) who escapes the dreariness of his job and his marriage to a harpy by spending his Sundays indulging his only hobby: painting. His life gets considerably more exciting when he runs across Joan Bennett, a con-artist and tramp who -- with the help of her pimp, the always-amusing Dan Duryea -- proceeds to slowly drain his financial wherewithal. Of course, the greatest irony is that Robinson has conned the con-artists: they think he's a wealthy artist because, in his attempt to impress Bennett, he neglected to mention that he's a just a lowly bank cashier. The movie shows us a dizzying amount of untruths, scams, cons, misperceptions . . . nothing is what it seems. Truth is relative, baby. While Lang has a lot of fun with all the illusions, he also dedicates himself to the principle that no good -- or bad -- deed goes unpunished, and that great noir principle, the inescapability from Fate, starts weighing more and more heavily on our characters as they perambulate through their sundry fictions and cons. -- For the sake of historical interest, it should be noted that *Scarlet Street* is an American remake of Jean Renoir's excellent *La Chienne*. (This story was based on a French novel; hence the concern with painting. Needless to say, the story migrated easily to Greenwich Village during the budding of the beatnik movement.) Renoir, in his film, spends a considerable amount of time building up the characterizations -- at the expense of the plot, to some degree. Read more ›
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Robinson is a person without collective importance ; a looser , a henpecked man . He has only a hobby: painting . In that world he gives wings to his fantasy , and those dreams become his identity signal . The unhappiness and the loneliness are his real beloved friends . Suddenly this fantasy world will open widely when his alter ego is pulled into world of crime by Joan Bennet and his manipulative boyfriend Duyrea. He falls in love with Joan very soon he'll discover a shock revelation: the first husband of his wife is still alive , so he thinks at last the happiness knocked the door of his destiny but ...
Only the fertile imagination of Fritz Lang could give this melodramatic plot a touch of genius . Once more , we should remember that Lang was one of the greatest directors in the cinema story . Since he left Germany after finnishing The testament of Dr. Mabuse ; he decided to work in United States and he'll find out in the film noir the perfect vehicle to express the dark shadows and the haunting ghosts that will appear unavoidable in the mind .
And being Lang one of the most remarkable sons of the german expressionism , to face that challenge was perfectly adequate to his skills and abilities .
If you're a hard fan of the film noir ; you find in this genre that the hell is in your mind , the guilty has no ending and nobody deserves a bit of trust . The love , under these circunstances is unable of growing up and the road for the weakness , the evilness and the cruelty are clear to shine .
In my personal selection of unforgettable Lang's films' american stage, I find several that form part of the top list : Fury , You only live once ; The Woman in the window , Big heat and Clash by night.
So don't doubt even a second about this film . It deserves an important place in your private selection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy Fritz Lang film all round May 12 2004
By A Customer
This review refers to the Alpha Video (Gotham) DVD.
Overall Quality of DVD: *** /**** Sound: ** /**** Plot: ***1/2 /**** Acting: ***1/2 /**** Cinematography: ***1/2 /**** Direction: ***1/2 /****
The first time I watched this film the whole effect did not set in until a few days later and it began tugging at me in the back of my mind (as do a lot of Fritz Lang films, at least, for me). There is much more to this film than a simple "film noir" although it is noir indeed.
You start to sympathize with Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson) because he is a true artist - he thinks of the world philosophically and poetically (as many artist do). To create art you must almost make yourself oblivious to the everyday machinations of the world, almost to the point of innocence, and Edward G. Robinson's character portrays the artist in this exact manner.
All he wants to do is paint but all his life he has been told what a failure he is and so he is nearly ashamed of his art and hides it from people but like any true artist he can not stop his love of art and so he hides in the bathroom like a prisoner to paint in solitude.
I love the scene where he finally shows one of his paintings of a flower that Joan Bennett gave him to an acquaintance who looks at the painting in total surprise and asks "Where did you find a flower such as this?" and Edward G. Robinson points to the flower in the glass sitting upon the bathroom sink and the acquaintance looks at him dumbfounded, points to the painting and asks "THIS? is what you see when you look at that?" - Edward G. Robinson nods and gives him a look that seems to say "You mean, you don't see it this way?" - it's a PERFECT scene expressing the inner feelings of an artist (any kind of artist).
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Good movie...Horrible film quality
Why is it that at least 4 of Edward G. Robinson's high quality
movies have been "preserved," both in video and DVD, in horrid condition. Read more
Published on March 15 2004 by chuckju
4.0 out of 5 stars This is one that Criterion definately needs to get a hold of
The 4 stars is going for the movie itself. (As usual) Fritz Lang has made another excellent film, with an almost Hitchcockian twist during the last 15 to 20 minutes of the film. Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2003 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Chris Cross Will Make You Jump
Poor Edward G. Robinson. That is to say, poor Christopher Cross, the character Robinson plays in SCARLET STREET (presumably no relation to the 80's pop "star" of the same name,... Read more
Published on May 19 2003 by Andrew McCaffrey
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Then Nothing
If you love this film as I do then don't be discouraged by the reveiws critical of the quality of the print and the transfer. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2002 by Tat - Ace
2.0 out of 5 stars Worst DVD Transfer Of All Time
Boy, this movie deserved a better fate. The film looks like mud. One can only hope a more dedicated DVD studio releases a better, cleaner transfer of this noir classic. Read more
Published on July 25 2002 by andy7
1.0 out of 5 stars Scarlet Street
One of the best Noir films ever, this masterwerke of Fritz Lang is marred by the poor quality of this transfer. Only for extreme movie buffs who cannot live without this film. Read more
Published on June 5 2002 by Brian Rise
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic movie undone by inferior print qualit y.
Scarlet Street succeeds in spite of the extremely poor quality of the video transfer to DVD. First rate screenplay, acting and direction defer this reviewer's condemnation of the... Read more
Published on April 16 2002 by Franklin S. Jarlett
1.0 out of 5 stars Fouled on a Technicality
"Scarlete Street" is not a bad little "film noir." Robinson goes against character as the meek, mild, but larcenous anti-hero, and Dan Duryea is the classic slick wise guy who's... Read more
Published on April 2 2002 by Arthur M
5.0 out of 5 stars The prostitute, her pimp, and their patsy
Powerfully harrowing and nightmarish noir about a henpecked husband who becomes the pawn of immoral, scheming lovers. Edward G. Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2001 by Axolotl
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