I’ve come to the conclusion that the directors of Edward G. Robinson movies don’t know when to end them. They tack on an extra few minutes that ruin the movie and so it was with Scarlet Street starring Robinson, Dan Duryea and Joan Bennett as another great femme fatale. Robinson, named Chris Cross in the movie, has just left his dinner celebrating his 25th year at the bank where he is manager when he happens upon Duryea slapping Ms. Bennett in the street. He intervenes and Duryea runs away. Of course mealy mouth Robinson falls head over heals for Bennett, in part because she’s beautiful and in part because he’s married to a shrew.
Little does Robinson know that both Bennett and Duryea are a team of schemers and see a sucker in Robinson. They play him along and Bennett has him wrapped around her little pinkie, so much so he paints her toenails before she goes out to dinner…with someone else.
As with all noir movies, something goes amiss, there’s a dead body and someone gets blamed. The characters, the action and the story are great. Duryea plays the best slimeball around, in both Scarlet Street and The Woman in the Window. Bennett is marvelous at playing Robinson. And Robinson makes a great patsy.
But just like The Woman in the Window, the last two minutes ruin it. If you watch it, in my mind the scene on the train should end the movie. But, that’s me. Just don’t miss these two great movies.