Scarlet Street Screen 4 articles

Scarlet Street

1945

Scarlet Street Poster
  • It's a tale of two masochists looking for a sadist (that's why they can never be together) - and the plot goes to some strange places but the stench of desperation hovers acridly throughout, and Lang savours the bold strokes and ironies ("Paint me!" crows Joan, proffering her toenails) as well as the grotesque domestic set-up of harridan wife and the "Happy Household Hour" on the radio.

  • Edward G. Robinson is not merely an actor or performer. He's a force of nature. Much like Jimmy Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson is both character and legend, a metatextual presence who charges the screen space around him. In SCARLET STREET he achieves a kind of nirvana... Lang's filmography is stuffed with majestic downers, but surely this is among his most bleak.

  • Sags under the weight of the likely censor-appeasing ending, with Chris haunted by the voice of his victim from beyond the grave, but Lang adds spice by linking these whisperings to the character’s sexual inadequacy, leaving him as the eternal cuckold, forever plagued by his insufficiencies.

  • In Fritz Lang’s masterpiece Scarlet Street (1945) it is never simply a matter of characters seeing or not seeing something important—although that can furnish the first, basic level of the intrigue. It is also a matter of what people really understand of what they see—which, in turn, has much to do with what they, consciously or unconsciously, project onto what is before their eyes.