Barton_Keyes

Noir Alley

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I hadn't seen Woman in the Window for a while, and this time around enjoyed it even more than my previous viewings.

Random thoughts:  Yeah, cigarjoe, I noticed the n1pple-revealing dress too. As you say, perhaps at the time the film was made, such, er, details would not have been noticeable. Oh well, just adds to  Joan's already alluring sexiness.

Dan Duryea:  Damn, I love this guy !  I love his tall lithe form, what they used to call  "a tall glass of milk", although in Dan's case, maybe more like a tall glass of whiskey and soda, with a little poison added for good measure. I love the way Dan always seems gentle, reasonable, at first. He's a nice guy, doesn't want to cause anybody any trouble. He just wants to blackmail them, Hey, a guy's got to make a living. I really enjoy his silky smooth way of speaking; it makes it all the more interesting when he suddenly switches gears and gets nasty. Silky to gritty in  a minute.  And I really like the way his character suddenly, just out of his bad guy's suspicious intuition, starts to suspect that his drink is poisoned. Joan's character is no match for him, any more than Lazy Legs is in Scarlet Street. I love Dan's combination of smart and ruthless and silky-smooth.

The murder: Why, oh why, do people in these movies always try to hide their nasty deed, rather than call the police? Because then there wouldn't be any movie, of course. I'm talking about many, many noir plots, including this one, where someone is being attacked and ends up killing someone. The attacker is intent on killing them, it's either them or the hero(protagonist, if you prefer.)  So the one being attacked naturally, when handed a gun or, in this case, a pair of scissors, defends themselves by using the weapon at hand.  It's self defence.  Yet, of course they always feel as guilty as if it had been outright murder, "the police will never believe us", that kind of thing. And /or, as in Edward G.'s case in The Woman in the Window, he feels that even if they believe his plead of self-defence and he's exonerated, his life will be ruined - career, marriage, family, reputation, all down the tubes. All this, and he didn't so much as kiss the girl.

I thought Eddie's comments about how there was much more potential humour in the story than Fritz Lang allowed for was revealing. My favourite noirs are those that are also kind of funny - bleak, maybe, violent, ok, but hey, that doesn't mean there's no room for a little humour, a bit of witty, sardonic dialogue or fun with character bits. We get a hint of it, but I guess Lang squashed most of it out of the final product. Too bad. And I love Fritz Lang, don't get me wrong.

Joan Bennett: Oh, Joan, you were so good. I wish she'd been in even more noirs, she was made for this type of movie. I love the way she kind of drawls her lines. In her way, she's as silky smooth as Duryea.  You do have to wonder why such a babe would have flirted with someone like Eddie and lured him in for a drink and to see her etchings. Maybe she was tired of her nasty brutish sugar daddy who never took her out anywhere and was thinking of making a switch. (Not realizing that Eddie's professor job wouldn't have yielded much sugar....) We never really find out, because of course the two of them get into trouble almost immediately (as I said, before Eddie gets to so much as kiss her) and the rest of the story is how they try to stumble through disposing of the evidence, etc. It's a little - but just a little - like Double Indemnity, but with Eddie as the Fred MacMurray character, and Eddie's role as the investigator and friend of the guilty guy being played by Raymond Massey. Maybe that's a bit of a stretch, the similarities end there.

Hey, anyone notice how this is the second film - both directed by Fritz Lang - where Dan's handling a pair of scissors? Remember how he's playing a tailor ( as a cover) in Ministry of Fear, and he strides around with this enormous pair of scissors in his hands?  True, in Woman in the Window he just picks them up for a minute while he's rummaging through Joan's things, but still, it reminded me of that scene in Ministry of Fear.  (Also, there's something intimate, creepy, about Dan's going through Joan's personal dressers, touching her stockings, etc. I'm sure it's on purpose.)

Anyway, fun movie. Lots more to say about it, but I don't want to be a hog. Oh, the ending...life, what is it, but a dream?  (Lewis Carroll)

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Just viewed THE WOMEN IN THE WINDOW and loved it. I know a lot of you prefer SCARLET STREET. I guess I liked the "lighter" version. Also, the comments earlier about the club where a lot of the story takes place were on target. Although they were probably for men only back in the 40s, which wouldn't fly today, these clubs still exist in some circles. Sitting by a fireplace with a cigar and a glass of brandy while chatting with friends is my idea of heaven. Being a dinosaur in 2018 is probably why I'm so attracted to TCM and Noir Alley. The men all wore suits and hats. The women dressed glamorously. Sure, everyone drank and smoked too much, but it just seemed like a classier time. I realize these are just movies and not everyone lived like the characters in these films. Still it's a nice escape from today's world. I guess you could say "it's the stuff that dreams are made of". 

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A funny personal story about Duryea, before in developed my noir habit, I'd always see him in Westerns and never liked him because he seemed for some reason out of place too smart alecky for the the Old West. Then I started watching Noirs and saw where he really belonged. lol.

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22 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

Just viewed THE WOMEN IN THE WINDOW and loved it. I know a lot of you prefer SCARLET STREET. I guess I liked the "lighter" version. Also, the comments earlier about the club where a lot of the story takes place were on target. Although they were probably for men only back in the 40s, which wouldn't fly today, these clubs still exist in some circles. Sitting by a fireplace with a cigar and a glass of brandy while chatting with friends is my idea of heaven. Being a dinosaur in 2018 is probably why I'm so attracted to TCM and Noir Alley. The men all wore suits and hats. The women dressed glamorously. Sure, everyone drank and smoked too much, but it just seemed like a classier time. I realize these are just movies and not everyone lived like the characters in these films. Still it's a nice escape from today's world. I guess you could say "it's the stuff that dreams are made of". 

 

You'd get a kick out of this then...

I used to go to a private high school right next to The University Club at corner of 5th Ave and 54th Street. Had a door man and the works as you can see.

Image result for university club nyc Lounge room

Lounge

1X1.gif1X1.gifImage result for university club nyc Lounge room1X1.gifDining Room

Image result for university club New York City  Reading Room

Library

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CigarJoe, 

Thanks for the pics.  What a gorgeous place! That dining room! The ceiling work in the library! I think they need to spruce up the lounge.  It seems to be missing the opulence that the other rooms have.

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Wow, that's perfect. The club to which I belong, primarily for golf, has a library with a fireplace, leather sofas and stuffed chairs  where one can sip brandy, but they don't allow cigars. Still it doesn't hold a candle to your place. I feel sure there have been some movies made there. 

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57 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

CigarJoe, 

Thanks for the pics.  What a gorgeous place! That dining room! The ceiling work in the library! I think they need to spruce up the lounge.  It seems to be missing the opulence that the other rooms have.

Mm, I don't know about that, speedy. I posted about the men's club thing a day or so ago, and I mentioned that the surroundings were "elegant yet cozy". Part of the appeal for me with those "gentlemen's clubs"  ( and yes, women weren't allowed, but so what, it was a different time....)   is yes, the "gorgeousness". But they also were supposed to be warm, welcoming, comfortable - in other words, cozy, a home away from home. The dining room and library are beautiful, I love them. But I'd rather hang out in the lounge. It's smaller and warmer looking, just the place to curl up in one of those chairs with a book and a drink. Or maybe, as they did in Woman in the Window, to have a fun chat with friends. It's got a fireplace and everything.

 

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7 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

 

You'd get a kick out of this then...

I used to go to a private high school right next to The University Club at corner of 5th Ave and 54th Street. Had a door man and the works as you can see.

cigarjoe, you obviously had a more privileged upbringing than I did. We were just glad when the roof in the lunch room didn't leak. And our lounge? An old sofa in front of the office that had springs poking out of it!

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I couldn't figure out if Joan was showing or not. From one angle it looked like she

was, from a different angle, maybe not. I've seen it on another medium and then

it was an obvious yes, not so on my TV. Keep 'em guessing. Her first mistake was

letting sleazebag Duryea into her apartment. She should have called his bluff. But

nooooooo. Okay, the poison didn't pan out, but she could have had him back the

next night and tried another method. While the characters are similar to those in

Scarlet Street, there are some differences. Eddie isn't a henpecked, apron wearing hubby

with an old harridan for a wife, and Joan isn't as manipulative and untrustworthy as

she was. Dan is mostly the same old bastard though. Those gentlemen's clubs. Too

full of cigar smoke for my taste and you'd probably run across a lot of tiresome bores

too. You don't have to join a club to do that. And what's up with Gotham College?

A middle aged man who is only an assistant professor and then is promoted to head

of the psychology department. Bet it advertises on matchbooks covers and in the

back pages of The Police Gazette.  

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The one plot twist in TWITW I've never quite bought into would be Duryea's demise.

Just don't see how what up to that time seemed a rather smart and clever man, would turn out to be someone who couldn't think of a way to fast-talk his way out of his encounter with the police when stopped by them, and who would pull out his gun and start firing at 'em, and something I might add we don't actually see.

(...can someone explain this to me, as it seems the most out of character plot contrivance...well, other than of course that whole "dream" thing)

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20 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I have noticed that some actresses' wardrobe suddenly looks a lot more revealing on my UHD 4K TV than they ever did on the old 27" tube TV.  I would imagine that the film quality of 35mm film vs digital is quite different.  I'm sure that the filmmakers and production code had no idea that audiences 80 years in the future would be able to clearly tell if Myrna Loy was wearing underwear or not. 

Not to mention, slow motion and zooming.  I think a lot of movies had women wear backless dresses and skin tight garments so audiences would assume they were not wearing underwear.

I've often wondered how some of these scenes in old movies actually showed up on the big screens they were meant for.  Especially for those sitting in the first few rows.

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Hadnt seen Window in years and enjoyed watching it again, but still HATE the ending. I think I could accept it more if they hadnt....SPOILERS

 

 

 

 

done that cheesy stuff w/Duryea and that other guy working in the club. It's never made clear what Joan "does". She lives in a swank apartment, but doesnt seem to work (or has flexible hours). Fancy duds. Seems out of reach for just doing "modeling". Is she a high priced call girl? (either that or what's his name is paying for the apt). In this film, she's not nasty as in Scarlett Street. Just caught up in a crisis that comes out of the blue........

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SPOILERS.

 

 

 

Miss W., if they went to the police, there wouldnt have been a movie (or at least not the same kind) Even if exonerated, Eddie G.'s reputation would've been ruined with all the headlines. So I see that as a good enough reason for his character to cover it up..........

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Woman in the Window is wonderfully stylized. Scarlet Street is darker, grittier and its theme of fatalism more in keeping with noir. Usually "it was all a dream" is a crutch for lazy storytelling; somehow, due largely to how great Woman in the Window looks - Joan Bennett's apartment/penthouse, the elegant club Edward G. spends time in - it doesn't hurt the film at all.  

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

Hadnt seen Window in years and enjoyed watching it again, but still HATE the ending. I think I could accept it more if they hadnt....SPOILERS

 

 

 

 

done that cheesy stuff w/Duryea and that other guy working in the club. It's never made clear what Joan "does". She lives in a swank apartment, but doesnt seem to work (or has flexible hours). Fancy duds. Seems out of reach for just doing "modeling". Is she a high priced call girl? (either that or what's his name is paying for the apt). In this film, she's not nasty as in Scarlett Street. Just caught up in a crisis that comes out of the blue........

Well, I kind of figured she's what used to be called a "mistress". The nasty guy who just lets himself into her apartment  (so right there, he has his own key) and gets it in the back with a pair of scissors, after trying to strangle Edward G., is Joan's "sugar daddy".  Of course because of the "Code" they couldn't make it too obvious; but it's clear to me that Joan doesn't "do" anything, except let herself be sexually available to her mean but rich "sugar daddy", apparently whenever he wants.  And he's the guy who's paid for that fancy apartment, her clothes, everything. Joan's character is, (again, old-fashioned term) a "kept woman".  

Which led me to wonder if the reason she sort of picks up Edward G. Robinson, stopping to talk and flirt with him while he's admiring her portrait, was because she was tired of her "daddy's" treatment  (she says at one point that he never takes her out anywhere, plus, it's clear he's a nasty guy) and was maybe hoping to exchange him for Eddie G. Why else would she have been so friendly to a man who was much older than she was, and not particularly attractive? (Of course what Joan's character didn't realize was that Eddie wouldn't have been much of a sugar daddy, he really didn'dt make that much money as a middling -range professor...) Anyway, we never get to find out if that's what she had in mind, and the story isn't really about that. But it's kind of fun to speculate on this kind of thing...

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

SPOILERS.

Miss W., if they went to the police, there wouldnt have been a movie (or at least not the same kind) Even if exonerated, Eddie G.'s reputation would've been ruined with all the headlines. So I see that as a good enough reason for his character to cover it up..........

Right, Hibi baby, I know that. Maybe you didn't see this part of my post: This is what I said:

"The murder: Why, oh why, do people in these movies always try to hide their nasty deed, rather than call the police? Because then there wouldn't be any movie, of course....

"as in Edward G.'s case in The Woman in the Window, he feels that even if they believe his plead of self-defence and he's exonerated, his life will be ruined - career, marriage, family, reputation, all down the tubes. All this, and he didn't so much as kiss the girl."

Admittedly, my post on Woman in the Window was quite long, and I don't blame you a bit if you sort of missed that comment I made there.

As I said, there are many noirs with that theme: the protagonist unintentionally kills someone in self-defence. It's clear to the audience it's self-defence, either kill or be killed. But these guys ( and sometimes girls) never seem to think they'll be believed, or they don't want to risk their reputations (or marriage, or career, or whatever) , and despite their innocence ( innocent in the sense that they did not "murder" anyone, it was self-defence), they act as though they are guilty, and either go on the run, or try to hide the evidence of the killing.

And if they did not do that, but went straight to the police, yeah, like you said, there'd be no story. Think of all the noirs we'd miss.😎

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On 11/18/2018 at 1:43 PM, cigarjoe said:

 

You'd get a kick out of this then...

I used to go to a private high school right next to The University Club at corner of 5th Ave and 54th Street. Had a door man and the works as you can see.

Image result for university club nyc Lounge room

Lounge

1X1.gif1X1.gifImage result for university club nyc Lounge room1X1.gifDining Room

Image result for university club New York City  Reading Room

Library

 

I wonder what the dues are.......

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4 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Well, I kind of figured she's what used to be called a "mistress". The nasty guy who just lets himself into her apartment  (so right there, he has his own key) and gets it in the back with a pair of scissors, after trying to strangle Edward G., is Joan's "sugar daddy".  Of course because of the "Code" they couldn't make it too obvious; but it's clear to me that Joan doesn't "do" anything, except let herself be sexually available to her mean but rich "sugar daddy", apparently whenever he wants.  And he's the guy who's paid for that fancy apartment, her clothes, everything. Joan's character is, (again, old-fashioned term) a "kept woman".  

Which led me to wonder if the reason she sort of picks up Edward G. Robinson, stopping to talk and flirt with him while he's admiring her portrait, was because she was tired of her "daddy's" treatment  (she says at one point that he never takes her out anywhere, plus, it's clear he's a nasty guy) and was maybe hoping to exchange him for Eddie G. Why else would she have been so friendly to a man who was much older than she was, and not particularly attractive? (Of course what Joan's character didn't realize was that Eddie wouldn't have been much of a sugar daddy, he really didn'dt make that much money as a middling -range professor...) Anyway, we never get to find out if that's what she had in mind, and the story isn't really about that. But it's kind of fun to speculate on this kind of thing...

 

Yeah, after repeated viewings it does seem to me Joan is trolling there, looking for a possible replacement. Also, since sugar daddy lives out of town, I wouldnt be surprised if Joan is "entertaining" other men while daddy isnt around.........(what daddy jumps to the conclusion when he barges in).

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4 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Right, Hibi baby, I know that. Maybe you didn't see this part of my post: This is what I said:

"The murder: Why, oh why, do people in these movies always try to hide their nasty deed, rather than call the police? Because then there wouldn't be any movie, of course....

"as in Edward G.'s case in The Woman in the Window, he feels that even if they believe his plead of self-defence and he's exonerated, his life will be ruined - career, marriage, family, reputation, all down the tubes. All this, and he didn't so much as kiss the girl."

Admittedly, my post on Woman in the Window was quite long, and I don't blame you a bit if you sort of missed that comment I made there.

As I said, there are many noirs with that theme: the protagonist unintentionally kills someone in self-defence. It's clear to the audience it's self-defence, either kill or be killed. But these guys ( and sometimes girls) never seem to think they'll be believed, or they don't want to risk their reputations (or marriage, or career, or whatever) , and despite their innocence ( innocent in the sense that they did not "murder" anyone, it was self-defence), they act as though they are guilty, and either go on the run, or try to hide the evidence of the killing.

And if they did not do that, but went straight to the police, yeah, like you said, there'd be no story. Think of all the noirs we'd miss.😎

Yes. I believe you're right. There weren't many Johnny Cochrans around back in those days. 

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5 hours ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

Woman in the Window is wonderfully stylized. Scarlet Street is darker, grittier and its theme of fatalism more in keeping with noir. Usually "it was all a dream" is a crutch for lazy storytelling; somehow, due largely to how great Woman in the Window looks - Joan Bennett's apartment/penthouse, the elegant club Edward G. spends time in - it doesn't hurt the film at all.  

SPOILERS

 

 

 

Well in the wrap around Eddie said they had problems with the code due to the suicide ending. But they didnt put up a fight for it either....

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1 hour ago, Hoganman1 said:

Yes. I believe you're right. There weren't many Johnny Cochrans around back in those days. 

Oh, I dunno. Leon Ames does a pretty impressive job of beating Jean Simmons' and Robert Mitchum's murder rap in Angel Face, anyway. ;)

 

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42 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Oh, I dunno. Leon Ames does a pretty impressive job of beating Jean Simmons' and Robert Mitchum's murder rap in Angel Face, anyway. ;)

 

The first Perry Mason book came out in 1933.     

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