Starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea, Ryamond Massey, Edmund Breon
(7-Very Good Film)
Mysterious. Suspenseful. Nightmarish.
An ordinary man pushed to the limit. A classic setup for a classic noir. Edward G. Robinson plays Professor Richard Wanley, loving husband and father of two . He, along with his friends, grow infatuated with a portrait hanging in a random store window; a portrait of an unknown, beautiful woman. One day, gazing at the portrait, the professor gets the shock of his life when a woman shows up, Alice Reed (Bennett), apparently the subject of the painting. She invites him to her place, and he sees no harm in going. From that decision on, Wanley’s life spirals out of control leading to murder, blackmail, and lies. Legendary director, Fritz Lang, deals in archetypes: perfect nuclear family man, dangerous femme fatale, slick investigator, slick blackmailer. It’s potent stuff, though almost undone in my eyes by the ending. The three leads are perfect, and true prototypes for their roles.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-