Scarlet Street

Director: Fritz Lang
Year Released: 1945
Rating: 2.5

Virgin Edward G. Robinson is conned by a woman (Joan Bennett) who thinks he's a rich, famous artist, but in reality he's a lowly banker who only paints on Sunday. You know you're in Fritz Lang Territory when: a poor, sad man mistakenly falls in love with someone and gets spit on and horribly mistreated (and takes it) only to become a victim of his own guilt, a positively evil woman who delights in scamming people out of money mocks Robinson's manhood and a criminal (Dan Duryea) takes perverse pleasure in slapping his girlfriend around (he's also pimping her out, I'm guessing). But I do like it better than most of Lang's other films in that it the plot is menacingly creative (Bennett is given credit for Robinson's work) and the supremely talented Robinson is wisely cast in the lead role - he's easily the film's stabilizing force, and properly conveys the right amount of low self-esteem for his character to work. Unfortunately, Lang's need to punish - torture - torment makes Ilsa the She-Wolf look like a playground instructor.