Thursday, September 21, 2017


I rarely watch the boob tube anymore unless there's an exciting storm warning or major disaster happening somewhere on this orb of ours (not to mention Jack Benny or Soupy Sales!), but I just hadda sit down and give this mid-forties "noirish" flick a go when it popped up on TCM recently. SCARLET STREET's a pretty hotcha film as far as these mooms go too...not too brainy yet still gripping enough to keep you up 'n front like the best Monogram or PRC film of the era most certainly could. And yeah, that innerlektual fave Fritz Lang did direct it, but frankly this 'un coulda been directed by William Beaudine or Christy Cabanne and it woulda been every bit as good (and perhaps even better if maybe Billy Benedict had a small role in it or something).

Edward G. Robinson plays Christopher Cross (not the famed late-seventies crooner), a cashier at some clothing retailer who's stuck with a shrewish wife and a whole lotta artistic aspirations down the ol' chute who comes across this slutsky type being roughed up by what turns out to be her boyfriend (played by Joan Bennett 'n Dan Duryea respectively). During some post-attack chitchat at a bar "Kitty" believes that Chris is actually a famous painter whose works are worth a ton of dough, and thus she starts acting all romantic and hitting up the obviously infatuated guy for loads of dough for a new fancy apartment because well, he ain't no starving artists type unloading melons at Cash Market or anything like that!

Meanwhile boyfriend Johnny takes some of Chris' paintings to an art dealer who sez they're nothing but caga, though a starving artist type of gallery takes a few on consignment and whaddaya know but the most famous art critic in the world just happens to see 'em and now Chris is one of the new rising stars in the art world! Only Kitty, under Johnny's maybe not-so-sure advice, signs her name to the paintings and is now the newest flash instead!

Nice bitta filmage here to be honest with a whole lotta neat twists and turns to keep this from being one of those gloppier mid-forties grownup flickers. Robinson is good enough as the fuddy duddy lead (gotta admit that some of his more sympathetic roles just didn't mesh with me) while the role of Kitty mighta been better suited to some other Hollywood bitch of the day. Big kudos do go to Duryea as Johnny, a guy who, although the dialogue doesn't actually come out 'n say it, was probably not just Kitty's boyfriend but her pimp. Well, it would seem that way the way he bitch slaps her around all the time!

And although Billy Benedict is nowhere to be seen, two bonafeed BLOG TO COMM faves turn up in small roles one being Byron Foulger as the crippled landlord who rents Kitty her new apartment and former Educational Pictures star and Shemp Howard foil Charles Kemper as Mrs. Cross' first hubby who surprisingly enough does come back from the dead and wants some money to keep things quiet! Nice, but maybe Benedict would have been good doing a delivery boy walk on 'r something like that.

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