Fritz Lang – Scarlet Street (1945)


Bleak.. grim… uncompromising… masterpiece… these are the words usually batted around about the film Fritz Lang considered his best American title. And the film lives up to these accolades without excuses. Endlessly rewatchable, the film finds Lang’s mise en scene at its most precise, its most crystalline. The film flows like the rainwater down a polished glass… easy and languid here, pausing there to plump up and gather weight… letting go there with velocity, until Chris Cross (Robinson) eventually finds his bottom in inevitable oblivion. Banned in several states, the ending of Scarlet Street may be the grimmest of all “Golden Age” Hollywood films– and most amazing that it passed the censors. Joan Bennett’s Kitty, and Dan Duryea’s Johnny may be the most vicious characters ever sketched onscreen in a 1940’s melodrama.. and the murder at its climax may be the most shocking, despite the absence of blood and gore.


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