Scarlet Street (1945)

Directed by Fritz Lang
Written by Dudley Nichols

As the month has closed and I have watched my final noir for Noir-vember, i begin to realize not only how much I appreciate being able to watch these noirs and escape to new worlds and enjoy incredible stories, but I appreciate being able to watch any movie. There is no limit to how wonderful, imaginative and awesome such an experience can be. But the other side of that coin is always out there too. There can always be disappointment and that one experience that is not favorable at all. This month was not that experience at all. I loved every minute of it getting more familiar with the genre and looking ahead to doing it all again last year. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a single bad experience with a film. I did. And it was with this last entry into Noi-vember, Scarlet Street.

A fairly well received noir from what I can tell, featuring once again the trio of Joan Bennett, Edward G. Robinson and Fritz Lang, Scarlet Street really struggles with being a movie I would ever care about. And that all starts with the cast of characters. This was a strange movie in that standing back from it after it had ended, there was nothing really specific that I had to nitpick with. There were good performances. This was not Bennett, or Robinson, or even Duryea laying an egg on screen. The filmmaking was proficient. There was nothing distracting in terms of cinematography, storytelling, or otherwise. The method was fine. So what I really got caught up in was the story, and when a film struggles with story, it generally struggles overall.

And when I say story what I am more generally talking about, once again, is the characters. Not only could I not relate to any of the characters, but they were all so stupid in their actions that I lost interest in the film, and quick. I could care less about any of their troubles, which were self-inflicted thanks to their stupidity. I do not regret any of their fates and actually find it suiting for what had come to each of them before. I seriously wanted to just punch this movie in the face, on multiple occasions. So as decent as the filmmaking was, and as unoffensive the performances, it still remains that I was physically peeved while watching this film and it was not a pleasant experience. Here’s to looking forward to next year!

* – Poor

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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