Scarlet Street (1945) Edward G Robinson In What Should Be Renamed – Doofus Street

Scarlet Street (1945) Joan Bennett Edward G Robinson fritz lang film noir poster

I’m catching up on that unique looking fella Mr Edward G Robinson. This review is for Scarlet Street (1945)

What’s going down?

Sing it Angela LansburyA tale as old as time….” Yep it’s the old classic. Man hits midlife. Old hag wife nags and belittles. Man wants quiet life fiddling with his hobbies. Young “helpless” pretty girl walks on by fluttering her eyelashes. Man goes crazy.

Where’s it set?

Set within the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village in New York City. (Filmed in LA!). We flip between rainy damp dark streets, apartment blocks, dingy dimly lit bars, oh and a toilet!

The main players

Edward G. Robinson – Christopher Cross
Joan Bennett – Katherine ‘Kitty’ March
Dan Duryea – Johnny Prince
Margaret Lindsay – Millie Ray
Rosalind Ivan – Adele Cross

Scarlet Street (1945) chris cross Edward G Robinson painting in the bathroom toilet

Sure I’ve seen them in something?

Edward G Robinson had a truly fantastic career, especially for a guy with those looks. Did he get a little type cast as the crazy cigar chomping gangster or powder-keg cop? I haven’t seen enough of his films to say.  But if so, it’s good to see him in Scarlet Street with a certain vulnerability to him. The man just wants a quiet life with his paints and pencils and naively, the love of younger woman.

I’m quite the novice on Mr Robinson’s films. So please feel free to recommend away in the comments below. I’ve seen Double Indemnity (1944) and the Orson Welles thriller The Stranger (1946) but it’s his final film, Soylent Green (1973) with Charlton Heston that stays with me. It features the most beautiful scene of them eating a “gourmet” meal together. Such a wonderful, bittersweet moment that you will never forget.

I haven’t seen many Joan Bennett films either. However I did recently catch the excellent Man Hunt (1941) with Walter Pidgeon. Looking at her filmography she went crazy though the 20s and 30s. A real movie machine. Funny to read her trademark as “Often played untrustworthy but sexy femme fatales” She was certainly very sexy. Recommend away please.

Dan Duryea face oozes slime. The few films I’ve seen him in he just has a horrible nature to him. I hope he managed a few pictures whilst being the nice guy? I have a few of his movies lined up to see soon. Too Late For Tears (1949) and Black Angel (1946). Weird coincidence. Edward G Robinson is called Chris Cross in this film and Dan Duryea played slimy gangster Slim Dundee in Criss Cross with Burt Lancaster.

All three actors can be found in The Woman in the Window (1944) which I see is on Netflix at time of writing. Will watch soon.

Scarlet Street (1945) Joan Bennett Katherine Kitty March & Dan Duryea

Notes on production?

Scarlet Street is directed by one of the kings of film noir, Fritz Lang. With the incredible The Big Heat (1953), Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) and the truly bonkers Fury (1936) with Spencer Tracy all being excellent films. There’s also one of my personal favorites, the mystery thriller Ministry Of Fear (1944). Fritz Lang is also the man who brought on to the world the classic sci-fi film Metropolis (1927) and the deep WW2 drama Hangmen Also Die! (1943). He has such an unbelievable consistently brilliant catalogue of films and so many more for me to see.

Scarlet Street is in fact a remake of a 1931 French film called La Chienne. Which itself is an adaptation of a novel by Georges de La Fouchardière and a play by André Mouëzy-Éon. The title La Chienne translates to “The Bitch!” Joan Collins would be proud.

Twelve original paintings were made for the aspiring artist Christopher Cross’s character. All painted by artist and set designer John Decker. I read that they were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art gallery. The one of “Kitty” is wonderful.

Scarlet Street (1945) artist and set designer John Decker Katherine Kitty March

Hits like a sledge hammer

The devious conniving duo are just so despicable. They really are a toxic twosome.

It’s not really implied other than “lady of the night” but I’m gathering Kitty is a prostitute and Johnny her pimp. He likes to slap her around and she kinda likes it!

All I’ll say is the end hits like the aforementioned sledge hammer!

It’s safe to say this story hits the criteria of pure film noir. With it’s bleak psychological theme and just for good measure there’s enough slaps around the face to make you go woah! “That’s the only thing you understand!” SLAP!”

Scarlet Street (1945) Joan Bennett Katherine Kitty March Edward G Robinson painting toe nails

Cutting remarks

“Next thing you’ll be painting women without clothes.”
“If he were mean or vicious or if he’d bawl me out or something, I’d like him better.”
“How can a man be so dumb”
“I’ve been waiting to laugh in your face ever since I met you”
“You’re old and ugly and I’m sick of you… sick, sick, sick!”
“LOVE? He’s making a tramp out of you!”

Wow! Random Factoid I Just Learnt!

Edward G Robinson screen-tested for Doctor Zaius for Planet Of The Apes in 1966. Check out this amazing early footage with him dress as the orangutan with Charlton Heston in this youtube video studio pitch makeup test. More info can be found here on Fandom.

Edward G Robinson Dr Zaius test footage Planet Of The Apes

Verdict

Like I say in the title it really should be called Doofus Street. You do feel for Christopher Cross and his innocent nature but at the same time you just want to say something cheesy at him like “wake up and smell the coffee you numbskull“. One thing for sure, it’s extremely hard to suppress the feeling that you just wanna punch Dan Duryea’s character’s face in. What with his snidey face and that ridiculous barbers shop hat. All in all this is a superior thriller that slaps in all the right places. With a backhander across the chops here, a wallop around the kisser there. In the end it’s a haymaking sucker-punch. Top film.

Hey Lazy Legs and Funny Face

Rating score

Wolfman’s rating 8.5/10       IMDB 7.8/10

If you fancy it Scarlet Street is on Youtube to stream as it fell into public domain.

Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf

PS fancy another take on this film? Check fellow movie blogger Gary’s Scarlet Street take. (We both did a Joanie bit 🙂 )

14 thoughts on “Scarlet Street (1945) Edward G Robinson In What Should Be Renamed – Doofus Street

  1. Is it just me or is there an ever so slight physical resemblance between Edward G. Robinson and Ernest Borgnine?

    Two interesting things of note about Joan Bennett (1910 – 1990) –

    (A) She married a movie critic (David Wilde) in 1978.
    (B) Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located a short distance from that of her sister Constance.

    Well done on a great wrap-up of SCARLET STREET.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do see where you’re coming from on that. They could well of made a convincing brothers double act in a film together. Maybe a comedy ribbing each other and trying to out do one another but in the end they realise what a strong bond they got.

      Dude you are a fact machine. Nice bits of info. I love doing this blog to learn and now I know I haven’t seen any of Joan sister Constance’s films. Where to start? Another investigation case is opened. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, they DO look kinda alike, haha!
    This looks like fun.
    Eyebrow raising fact: A New York Village story filmed in L.A.
    Bleeech! I can tell when we’re on Los Angeles film lots without even half-looking. Was it done on a lot or on actual L.A. streets?
    Mr. Robinson dressed as the orangutan. Omg, thank you.
    In the poster, the guy’s suit: sorry I’m always mentioning their clothes, but those suits were da bomb, weren’t they? So cool! Looks like a zoot suit, unless it’s the style that maybe led to the zoot suit later……..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hehe Mr Robinson dressed as an orangutan kind of finishes of the days google search right there. Sometimes it’s just satisfying to know that’s the craziest thing you will see that day and you can sleep soundly till tomorrow.

      TBH I don’t know if it was a lot or not but it looked the part and seemed pretty authentic for this here Brit!
      I love the way you pick out the clothes. As I say his character oozes punctuality and along with Johnny’s face it’s also his choice of clothes that brings out king douchebag. Mainly that barber shop singer hat.
      Many thanks as always for the great comments Seliza.
      All the best. Mikey

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, you watched the ‘green floating head’ movie with Edward G. Robinson! I’ve always liked this one, for the very reasons you mention: Robinson being a doof, Dan Duryea, and the fact that Robinson’s character was an orangutan. Oh, wait…

    And I thought it was THIS film that had a particular ending, but just now checked and realized I’m thinking of ‘The Woman in the Window’. So maybe THAT’S the film I like…I’ll have to watch this one again and see. Is any part of this comment making sense?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha yes we did have a good old laugh to the thought of the spirit of Robinson as hulk looking down on this twosome. Yeah the end is a little nutty in this and rather brilliant for it. I haven’t seen “The Woman in the Window” yet so when I do we can sync up our Ed, Joan and Dan threesome. I guess if orangutan Edward is on the cards Joan might be happier with that three way!?! Yes your comment does make total sense to me but unfortunately now I’ve probably taken it off into wtf is wolf boy talking about realms!

      Like

      • And hey, I forgot to mention: halfway through your review, I saw that link to see if this film meets the ‘pure film noir’ criteria, and I thought, hey, somebody else has done a ‘what makes a noir film’ list. So I went to check…d’oh, it was mine! So once again, thanks for making me a part of your post!

        Liked by 2 people

        • You’re very much welcome bro. I do so much like that 10 rules to noir. It’s my go to benchmark when I’m a little stuck when the doofus somehow gets a happy ending (not that kind!!). That would be a whole different genre of film!

          Like

  4. The story I became emotionally invested in, very well-told. I didn’t know was a remake! I’m with you on Robinson, unforgettable performances in SS and in The Stranger. Thanks for the tip about Soylent Green (1973)

    Like

  5. Well done and a great write up. Another fritz special. Eddie was a real pro. My favorite part of his was with that cigar. Johnny Rocco in Key Largo opposite Bogart.
    So many good films to name. My dad always liked one he made with Glenn Ford and Barbara Stanwyck. The Violent Men.
    On Duryea he was another weasel you just learn to love. Enjoy Too late for Tears and look him up in westerns. He can steal them right out from under the leading man at times and check him out in noir flick The Burglar. Cheers.

    Like

  6. I love this movie! One of Eddie’s best performances. Joan Bennett is such a tool here! She was always a great femme fatale. I guess she was a handful in real life too. I believe her husband, producer Walter Wanger (Hitch’s Foreign Correspondent), shot Bennett’s lover and (I think) went to jail for a couple of years! She ain’t acting in Scarlet Street… [LOL!]

    Like

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