Monday, March 5, 2012

Netflix pick of the week: Scarlet Street

1945 Directed by Fritz Lang, with Edward G Robinson & Joan Bennett

The moral of the story for all those careerist art types is to be careful what you wish for. Especially if a connivingly seductive Joan Bennett takes all the credit for painting your canvases.
This cautionary film noir casts E G Robinson in the unlikely role of Chris Cross (!) an unassuming bank bookkeeper turned outsider artist at night. Lured by a duo of truly rotten and duplicitous con persons (Bennett & Dan Duryea) to give up his paintings for the promise of big bucks and gallery shows, things go from bad to worse as Chris’s crush on Kitty (Bennett) turns violent.
Lang’s expressionist take on film noir cinematography and screenplay lends an unusual pathos to this story. Gritty and believable characters struggle for survival, while haunted by their actions. Theres nothing heroic or redemptive about Chris, he’s sold out and now must pay his dues.
At least the art has a happy ending.

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