Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Scarlet Street (1945)


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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Scarlet Street (1945)

In Fritz Lang's fatalistic film noir - one of the moodiest, blackest thrillers ever made, its three main actors, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea, had all appeared together in Lang's The Woman in the Window (1944):

  • the tragic story of a meek, middle-aged cashier and unhappily-married, hen-pecked husband and amateur painter named Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson)
  • Cross unwittingly fell into a cruel trap set up by cold-hearted, amoral femme fatale gold-digger and Greenwich Village streetwalker Katherine "Kitty" March (Joan Bennett); he first met Kitty on a rainy night when she was being beaten up by her own abusive, slick and mercenary boyfriend-pimp Johnny (Dan Duryea); she enticingly asked: "Would you take me home?"; they got to know each other in a bar for a late-night drink - he was immediately entranced by the clear plastic raincoat-wearing sexy dame
  • Kitty's evil deceptions and extortions -- she led Cross to commit embezzlement (of his wife's and employer's funds) in order to rent an expensive apartment for her (to serve as an art studio), impersonated him in order to sell his paintings, and was deceitful and cruel to him
  • in the middle of all the deceptive proceedings, there was an amazing and contrived plot-twist; the previous husband of Cross' wife Adele (Rosalind Ivan), corrupt policeman Patch-eye Homer Higgins (Charles Kemper) suddenly appeared - he had been presumed drowned during the rescue of a suicidal woman; Cross now assumed that his marriage to Adele was invalidated, and that he was free to marry Kitty
  • the scene of Cross' pitiful and pathetic proposal of marriage to Kitty: ("I haven't any wife, that's finished...Her husband turned up, I'm free...I can marry you now, I want you to be my wife. We'll go away together, way far off so you can forget this other man. Don't cry, Kitty, please don't cry"), when she humiliated him and revealed her true feelings; Kitty called Cross an "idiot": ("I am not crying, you fool, I'm laughing!...Oh, you idiot! How can a man be so dumb?...I've wanted to laugh in your face ever since I first met you. You're old and ugly and I'm sick of you. Sick, sick, sick!"); she ordered him out ("You want to marry me? You? Get out of here! Get out! Get away from me!") -- leading him to commit murder in a jealous rage by stabbing her with an ice-pick through her bed covers when she hid
  • the film's ending - Johnny was accused of the crime (and sentenced to death), and Cross (although innocent) suffered humiliating disgrace, psychological torment and mental anguish (i.e., a failed suicide attempt by hanging and abject homelessness as he wandered the streets)
  • the final image was his shuffling by a 5th Avenue gallery when he passed the 'self-portrait' he had drawn of Kitty, and overheard its sale to an elderly matron for $10,000; he heard the art dealer Mr. Dellarowe (Arthur Loft) comment: "Well, there goes her masterpiece. I really hate to part with it" - the buyer replied: "For $10,000 dollars, I shouldn't think you'd mind, Mr. Dellarowe"
  • the last lines of dialogue, heard as the tormented and haunted Cross slowly ambled down the deserted street under a movie marquee - he thought of Kitty and Johnny together, with echoing words of love spoken (off-screen) between them: Kitty: "Johnny. Oh Johnny." Johnny: "Lazy Legs." Kitty: "Jeepers, I love you, Johnny."


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