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Scarlet Street

Scarlet Street (1945)
The story of Chris Cross (Edward G Robinson) who is stuck in a loveless marriage. After he is aquatinted with a much younger woman he becomes infatuated when she seems interested in him. Chris’s love of painting soon becomes apparent and Kitty and her abusive fiancé use his artwork signed by Kitty to make a buck. But as their scheme becomes apparent, Chris turns to murder when he realises he is being taken for a ride.

This is quite a different approach to noir as there is no twist ending. The viewer is in on the scheme from the start and the plot is just the downward spiral of the protagonist Edward G Robinson. I really felt for his character who has an over controlling wife and just wants to break free for happiness. He’s highly gullible thinking this young femme fatale is really attracted to him. Kitty’s fiancé is also very controlling and is the mastermind behind their scheme. But as Chris is pushed to the limits he turns to murder in a fit of rage.

Fritz Lang gets some top performances out of the very small cast. Kitty and Johnny are one of the nastiest duos I have seen in a noir. They seem to loathe each other but their relationship thrives on it. The main focus is however on Chris who is going to see that Johnny takes the fall for Kitty’s murder come hell or high water. But as the credits roll Chris’s luck is cursed as he has lost everything and is endlessly haunted by the outcome. His future seems doomed.