The Woman in the Window Fritz Lang

The Woman in the Window Fritz Lang
There’s a tail ending to The Woman in the Window, possibly ordered by the studio, that’s unfortunately stupid enough to have you shaking your fist and cursing at the screen. Until then, it’s a bona fide noir classic from the master himself, Fritz Lang. Edward G. Robinson stars as a college professor whose family has left him for the summer. Admiring a painting of a beautiful woman in a store window, he’s surprised when the model (Joan Bennett) appears before him and invites him up to her apartment. Then someone bursts in on them and a crime is committed that has to be covered up. Robinson thinks he’s gotten away with it but his police detective friend Raymond Massey starts to close in and then blackmailer Dan Duryea comes calling, leading our hero to consider ever more desperate means of staying out of jail. The protagonist’s innocent deviation from familial fidelity is punished swiftly and unfairly, and the film is interesting for taking a fine, upstanding citizen and thrusting him into a situation where he starts to shed his scruples. He hasn’t even done anything particularly wrong to begin with — he’s simply in a spot — and the film’s tragedy lies in its ability to take a solid citizen and turn him into a louse. Everybody here are working at their highest ability: Nunnally Johnson’s script is airtight (except for that denouement), Bennett smoulders as the obligatory femme fatale and Duryea takes his stock bottom feeder role and runs with it. All the noir basics are present and Lang tightens the noose gently but inescapably. (MGM / Fox)