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Scarlet Street [Blu-ray]

Edward G Robinson , Joan Bennett , Fritz Lang    Blu-ray
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 34.95
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Product Description


Kino Video's remastered edition of Scarlet Street finally does justice to one of the best film noir classics of the 1940s. Less than a year after scoring a critical and popular success with The Woman in the Window, director Fritz Lang reunited with stars Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, and Dan Duryea for this fatalistic New York City tale of a meek, middle-aged cashier and aspiring artist named Christopher Cross (Robinson) who unwittingly falls into a trap set by a pair of Greenwich Village con artists (Bennett, Duryea) who plot to sell his paintings and make off with the profits. In addition to Lang's masterful use of studio backlot locations and cinematographer Milton Krasner's exquisite control of light and shadow, the film draws its primary strength from the atypical performance by Robinson (typically so good at playing heavies, and a knowledgeable art collector off-screen) as a hen-pecked husband and self-professed failure whose withered ego makes him especially vulnerable to the false charms of Bennett, a femme fatale as heartless as she is ultimately doomed. Her scandalous behavior on screen and off (Bennett was the wife of producer Walter Wanger and Lang's mistress) and Duryea's pimpish amorality made Scarlet Street both immensely popular and scandalous enough to be banned in three states when the film was released in late 1945, but in Lang's dark vision of corrupted souls and avenging angels, nobody goes unpunished. The ending of Scarlet Street is as unforgiving as it is unforgettable, and in the hands of Fritz Lang, it's the purest essence of film noir at its finest. Kino's DVD release offers a high-definition digital transfer from a 35-millimeter negative preserved by the Library of Congress (in other words, it puts every previous video release to shame), and there's an astute, scholarly commentary by Lang expert David Kalat that puts Scarlet Street into critical perspective with Lang's career and film noir in general. For fans of the genre, this is a must-own DVD. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

A box-office hit in its day (despite being banned in three states), Scarlet Street is perhaps legendary director Fritz Lang's (Metropolis) finest American film. Kino's immaculate 1080P transfer, from a 35mm Library of Congress vault negative, restores Lang's extravagantly fatalistic vision to its original B&W glory. When middle-aged milquetoast Chris Cross (Edward G. Robinson -- Double Indemnity, Little Caesar) rescues street-walking bad girl Kitty (Joan Bennett -- The Reckless Moment) from the rain slicked gutters of an eerily artificial backlot Greenwich Village, he plunges headlong into a whirlpool of lust, larceny and revenge. As Chris' obsession with the irresistibly vulgar Kitty grows, the meek cashier is seduced, corrupted, humiliated and transformed into an avenging monster before implacable fate and perverse justice triumph in the most satisfyingly downbeat denouement in the history of American film. Both Scarlet Street producer Walter Wanger's wife and director Lang's mistress, Joan Bennett created a femme fatale icon as the unapologetically erotic and ruthless Kitty. Robinson breathes subtle, fragile humanity into Chris Cross while film noir super-heavy Dan Duryea, as Kitty's pimp boyfriend Johnny, skillfully molds "a vicious and serpentine creature out of a cheap, chiseling tin horn." (The New York Times). Packed with hairpin plot twists from screenwriter Dudley Nichols (Stagecoach) and "bristling with fine directorial touches and expert acting" (Time), Scarlet Street is a dark gem of film noir and golden age Hollywood filmmaking at its finest.

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Most helpful customer reviews
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good movie...Horrible film quality March 15 2004
By chuckju
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. Scarlet Street is probably the worst of the lot, but The Red House, Woman in the Window, and even The Stranger with Orson Welles are all available only in very bad condition. I would imagine there are many TV stations that own much better prints that could be used. Whether in the public domain or not, all of the above films except The Red House could be considered classics (Fritz Lang directing or original scripts and performances) and should have by now gotten a preservation treatment.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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. I've enjoyed Fritz Lang films since Metropolis. The copy of the film I got was from a studio called Front Row Entertainment. I think I paid under $5.00 for it with tax included, so I can't sqwak about the price. However, if one of the restoration studios (Criterion, Kino, etc.) decided to give it a face lift, I would have no trouble forking down $25 - 35 for this gem. In my copy, the film is weatherworn, spotty, too dark in some places, too light in others, and just plain makes it difficult to watch in general. The sound isn't much better. Here's an official appeal to the restoration studios. Please do with this one what you did with Metropolis, and M.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Scarlet Street June 5 2002
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. There doesn't seem to be a quality print to be found anywhere in any format. A real shame. To top it off the scene selection menu was off and lists "chapter one" as a scene in the middle of the film!
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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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy Fritz Lang film all round
This review refers to the Alpha Video (Gotham) DVD.
Overall Quality of DVD: *** /**** Sound: ** /**** Plot: ***1/2 /**** Acting: ***1/2 /**** Cinematography: ***1/2 /****... Read more
Published on May 12 2004
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
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 LazyLegs
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