Slightly Scarlet (1956)

Genres - Crime, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir  |   Release Date - Feb 29, 1956 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Fans of film noir will definitely want to check out Slightly Scarlet, one of the few examples of the genre from its "golden period" to be shot in color. And what color it is! The word "lurid" may have been created specifically for this movie, which revels in greens that limes could imagine and oranges that practically explode from the screen -- not to mention scarlets that erase any pretense of "slightly." It's startling to see such color in a traditional noir film, but cinematographer John Alton know just how to use them. The color also benefits the twin carrot-topped femme fatales of the film, luscious Rhonda Fleming and devilish Arlene Dahl. Both actresses turn in captivating performances, with Dahl perhaps having a slight edge due to the "bad girl" nature of her part. They're unfortunately not quite matched by John Payne, who never quite connects with the part, despite trying hard; part of it is not the actor's fault, as the role he plays is a bit muddled and unfocused. The script is also over-complicated and equally unsure of exactly what it is trying to say, something that Allan Dwan's competent-but-no-more direction doesn't help. Less than perfect, Slightly Scarlet is still recommended viewing, especially for noir aficionados.