Friday, July 8, 2011

The Woman In The Window (1944)

How much is that woman in the window....

- The company mainly consisting of actors Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea, and director Fritz Lang created two very well done film noir thrillers back-to-back in the 1940s - 1944's The Woman In The Window was the first (1945's Scarlet Street was the second).

Edward G. Robinson stars in The Woman In The Window as the prestigious university professor and family man Richard Wanley. In our story, Richard has taken leave of his senses by the beauty and wiles of the woman named Alice Reed (Joan Bennett) of whom he originally saw in a painting through a store window. Murder, blackmail, depression, and paranoia follow, naturally.

Both Lang/Robinson/Bennett/Duryea collaborated films have similar themes of an older man being seduced by a younger femme fatale but The Woman In The Window is the film with the lighter tone - almost copping out in some cases. Scarlet Street is the superior Lang/Robinson/Bennett/Duryea collaboration but The Woman In The Window is a very entertaining film noir thriller that is expertly shot by Lang and those behind the camera and features a particularly excellent Edward G. Robinson performance and a beautiful Joan Bennett.

The Woman In The Window is a fairly formulaic film noir but that really does not take anything away the overall enjoyment factor that the film certainly has. Traditional film noir themes of calmness and normality being overtaken by murder and darkness because of a mysterious woman are abundant in The Woman In The Window and while there certainly are darker films in the noir genre, The Woman In The Window gets plenty bleak on its own and has a couple of very shocking scenes in particular that really make the film memorable.

In short, The Woman In The Window is a must see for film noir fans - as well as Edward G. Robinson fans - and I recommend watching it as part of a double feature with its Lang/Robinson/Bennett/Duryea-collaborated cinematic counterpart Scarlet Street as this makes for some excellent viewing.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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