Scarlet Street (1945)
A box-office hit in its day (despite being banned in three states), SCARLET STREET is perhaps legendary director Fritz Lang's finest American film. But for decades, SCARLET STREET has languished on poor quality VHS tape and in colorized versions. Kino's immaculate new digital transfer, from a 35mm Library of Congress vault negative, restores Lang's extravagantly fatalistic vision to its original black and white glory.When middle-aged milquetoast Chris Cross rescues street-walking bad girl Kitty from the rain slicked gutters of an eerily artificial backlot Greenwich Village, he plunges headlong into a whirlpool of lust, larceny and revenge. As Chris' obsession with the irresistibly vulgar Kitty grows, the meek cashier is seduced, corrupted, humiliated and transformed into an avenging monster before implacable fate and perverse justice triumph in the most satisfyingly downbeat denouement in the history of American film.Both SCARLET STREET producer Walter Wanger's wife and director Lang's mistress, Joan Bennett created a femme fatale icon as the unapologetically erotic and ruthless Kitty. Robinson breathes subtle, fragile humanity into Chris Cross while film noir super-heavy Dan Duryea, as Kitty's pimp boyfriend Johnny, skillfully molds "a vicious and serpentine creature out of a cheap, chiseling tin horn" (The New York Times). Packed with hairpin plot twists from screenwriter Dudley Nichols and "bristling with fine directorial touches and expert acting" (Time), SCARLET STREET is a dark gem of film noir and golden age Hollywood filmmaking at its finest.