Archive for the ‘Joan Bennett’ Category

ScarletSTreetI’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.

ScarletSTreet2As 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.

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TheWomanInTheWindowThe Woman in the Window may have been my favorite noir movie so far…until the last 2 minutes, which in my opinion, ruined the noir tenor of the movie. Joan BennettTheWomanInTheWindow2 is the woman in the window…a portrait in the window next door to Edward G. Robinson’s men’s club. (Talk about one sultry femme fatale…although she really isn’t ‘fatale’ in the movie.) After dinner with his friends, the local district attorney and a doctor, Robinson is ruminating over the portrait in front of him when the model, Ms. Bennett appears. They chat, go out for drinks and before you know it, Robinson is back in her apartment. All is innocent but Bennett’s jealous lover, a prominent financier, unexpectedly enters and gets the wrong impression. He gets Robinson in a stranglehold and Robinson, to save himself, stabs and kills him. The rest of the movie is the cover up. Robinson’s friend, Raymond Massey, is the district attorney handling the case, so Robinson gets constant updates. There is suspense galore, dark, shadowy streets and alleyways and all three main characters are so well cast. If there was a way to give you a two minute warning, I would, so you could turn it off at the right time. However, you might as well watch the whole thing because 105 minutes of pleasure is worth the two minutes of pain. By the way, Joan Bennett will give Rita Hayworth a run for the money. And there is just something about Edward G. Robinson, isn’t there.

Now let’s move on to noir movie clunker number 2, after Touch of Evil . It is D.O.A. starring Edmund O’Brien. DOAO’Brien, mysteriously decides to take a vacation in San Francisco. He stays at a hotel hosting a sales convention, goes partying with some salesmen, has a few too many and feels sick in the morning, but so sick he sees a doctor. After running tests, it’s determined that O’Brien was poisoned. O’Brien, an accountant in the movie, spends the rest of it trying to determine who poisoned him. From the dialogue to the action, this movie just didn’t make it. The storyline is convoluted. The love interest is uninteresting. And there certainly is no femme fatale. If you’re determined to see a movie entitled D.O.A., I suggest to see the 1988 movie with Randy Quaid. Although the story is different, the poisoning is the same and this one is a lot more suspenseful.

Since I’m halfway through the noir movies mentioned in Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma, it’s probably time for a recap. As far as femme fatales go, Rita Hayworth is certainly on top, with Joan Bennett a close second. There is no close or even distant third.

Regarding the movies, Gilda still remains on top with Lady from Shanghai and The Third Man battling head to head for second place. The Woman in the Window is trailing only because of the lame ending.

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