Scarlet Street : Surely this is one of the best film noirs ever?

Surely this is one of the best film noirs ever?

I watched this last night and this film is one of my favourite noirs I’ve seen but not one that I hear mentioned with the greats... Maltese Falcon, Double indemnity, Sunset Boulevard etc... (I know it's Lang and perhaps I should have known better!)

However it really sucked me in the most noir of noir ways. I guess when I first started watching I noticed the lack of any strong characters- it felt a little Kitchen sink and domestic (A bit like the Postman Always Rings Twice- which I didn’t enjoy so much) However this is true ‘boxed in’ noir at its best. The web was spun without me ever noticing. I guess because the Spider Lady Kitty was bumbling along with Jonny I figured it was going to lack any killer twist. There was no predetermined evil plan of dexterity (that the likes of Phyllis Dietrichson had been spinning from day one in Double Indemnity).

However the reason this really is true noir is the narrative slowly caves in on its players. Fatalismat at its most lethal. The real mistress in this piece is fate, greed, vanity and lust- these four players are the predetermined web weavers.

To me this is the truest of noir stories. Forget your immaculately cool detective or the perfectly calculated Femme Fatal. Scarlet Streets warns that the true beast lies lament within all of us and just one wrong turn down a shadowy street corner is enough to wake it.


Re: Surely this is one of the best film noirs ever?

The plot, except the dark lady, is not typically noir but imho this is one of the greatest film ever.

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Re: Surely this is one of the best film noirs ever?

Agree. I just watched Scarlet Street again after not seeing it for several years. And wow, was I impressed. A truly great noir. For me, with its unrelenting darkness and fatalism, it gets as close to the heart of noir as any film from the classic era. The only ones I can think of that come close are Raw Deal, Night and the City, The Killers, and Detour. Sweet Smell of Success maybe, although it arrives a little late for the party in the noir chronology.
Also I'd give an honorable mention to the Val Lewton chillers, which in their different way, are noirish.