The Woman in the Window (1944)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir, Crime Drama, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Nov 3, 1944 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

Working from a script by Nunnally Johnson, Fritz Lang tautly crafts a nightmare world for a mild-mannered professor bewitched by a portrait. In a studio-lot city, Edward G. Robinson's aptly named Prof. Wanley finds himself acting like a professional criminal after he encounters the woman of his portrait dreams come to life in the enticing figure of Joan Bennett, and gets tangled in an accidental murder. Master film noir director Lang infuses Robinson's increasingly threatening world with shadowy paranoia, offsetting the potentially mitigating effects of the surprise ending(s). With Wanley hounded by a slimy blackmailer (Dan Duryea) and suspected by his D.A. friend (Raymond Massey) and the police inspector, Lang builds suspense while implying that Wanley is not so far from the opposite side of the law as he seems. Regardless of the outcome, the potential for violence and criminality still lurks within the seemingly innocent man. The Woman in the Window's combination of director and stars worked so effectively that Lang, Robinson, Bennett, and Duryea reunited for Scarlet Street (1945), once again delving into the fate of a doomed older man who meets a femme fatale.