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Scarlet Street: Kino Classics Edition [Blu-ray]
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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.
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 --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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).Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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
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 morePublished on Nov. 24 2003 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on May 19 2003 by Andrew McCaffrey
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 morePublished on Sept. 7 2002 by Tat - Ace
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 morePublished on July 25 2002 by andy7
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 morePublished on June 5 2002 by Brian Rise
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 morePublished on April 16 2002 by Franklin S. Jarlett
"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 morePublished on April 2 2002 by Arthur M