With Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey, Edmund Breon, Dan Duryea, Thomas E. Jackson
Directed by Fritz Lang
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

    A classic film noir in spite of a controversial ending, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is the first of two collaborations between director Fritz Lang and actors Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea. Robinson plays a professor in the throes of a mid-life crisis whose dalliance with a mysterious woman leads to murder.  To complicate matters, Robinson is close friends with District Attorney Raymond Massey, who unknowingly closes in on Robinson with each newly discovered clue.  The first two thirds of this film have a palpable sense of claustrophobic paranoia, as we watch Robinson accidentally incriminate himself with each action and statement, even if Massey is too thick to realize his number one suspect is sharing brandy and cigars right next to him at the local men's club.

     It is in the final twenty minutes that the script loses focus, as focus shifts from Robinson's nightmarish existence to "the woman" (Bennett) and a blackmailer (Duryea), with Robinson offscreen for much of the time.  Before we can get to an anticipated confrontation between Massey and Robinson, the final minute of the film pulls out the rug from underneath us in a way that will please some fans but anger many others.  Still, for its style, performances and first 80 minutes, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is one of the classic noirs of the 1940s.  SCARLET STREET, Lang's followup film, is a better film using essentially the same plot elements. 4 - JL

Film Noir     Edward G. Robinson     The Stuff You Gotta Watch


Our Gang members Bobby Blake and George "Spanky" McFarland both have small parts in this film.

Stuff You Gotta Watch
Copyright © 2010 John V. Brennan, John Larrabee