Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Woman in the Window(1944)- A strange dangerous adventure.

The Woman in the Window (1944). Film noir. Director; Fritz Lang. Cast: Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett . Based on J. H. Wallis' novel Once Off Guard. Scriptwriter: Nunnally Johnson, founded International Pictures Incorporated, after writing films: The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and other John Ford films, and chose The Woman in the Window as its first project.

After his wife and children take off on their summer vacation, Richard Wanley, psychology professor, heads for his men's club. On his way to the club, the professor passes a portrait of a beautiful woman in a window and takes a few moments to admire it.

While with his friends at the club, the professor confides to his friends that he has a boring life, and they warn him of the dangers of things that might happen with his wife out of town. After several brandies, the professor becomes sleepy and decides to take a nap. He asks the waiter to wake him at 10:30. Soon after, his nightmare begins...

After leaving the club, the professor once again passes the portrait and is surprised to find a second image alongside the picture, the ghostly reflection of Alice standing next to him. In one of my favorite scenes of the film, is shot in such a moody, manner that it is easy to believe that she maybe an apparition. Wanley does a double take, even he believes it maybe a dream.

Alice Reed: Well, there are two general reactions. One is a kind of solemn stare for the painting.
Richard Wanley: And the other?
Alice Reed: The other is a long, low whistle.
Richard Wanley: What was mine?
Alice Reed: I'm not sure. But I suspect that in another moment or two you might have given a long, low, solemn whistle.

Flattered, Alice Reed, invites him to her apartment. Hours later, suddenly, a man bursts into the room, accuses her of infidelity and attacks the professor. As the man grabs the professor around the neck, Alice gives him a pair of scissors and he stabs his attacker. Alice says although she was his mistress, she knew little about him other than his name, Frank Howard. The professor thinks it is best that they dispose of the body instead of calling the police. Alice is then blackmailed by Heidt, a crooked ex-cop who was the dead man's bodyguard. You will be surprised how this film noir will end.

Fun Facts:

Edward G. Robinson, Dan Duryea, and Joan Bennett would go on to play the three leads in Fritz Lang's next film Scarlet Street (1945).

Was based loosely on J.H. Wallis's 1942 book, "Once Off Guard".

This is a wonderful "film noir". The dark shadows, the femme fatale, the detectives, the murder... "The Woman in the Window", seems to say that evil only lives when people are looking for it.

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