Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Fritz Lang’s “The Woman in the Window” starring Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett

The Woman in the Window (1944) is an American film noir directed by Fritz Lang, produced by Nunnally Johnson, and starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey, and Dan Duryea.

The plot centers on a mild-mannered college professor Richard Wanley (Robinson) who meets Alice Reed, (Bennett) while staring at a painting in an art gallery window. He soon realizes that the woman was the model for the painting. What started out as an innocent night out for a few drinks turns into a night of murder and blackmail.

How will  Professor Wanley and Alice get out of the mess they’ve gotten themselves into?

Joan Bennett and Edward G. Robinson

Fritz Lang (1890 – 1976) was an Austrian-German-American director. Lang is the director of the silent film classic Metropolis (1927). After serving in World War I, Lang worked for a time as an actor in the theater and then worked as a writer at Decla Film in Berlin. Lang’s first talking picture was M (1931) a story about a child murderer. Due to his growing renown, Joseph Goebbels offered him the position of head of the German film studio UFA in 1933. Lang emigrated to Paris and then to the United States in 1936. Lang worked for all the major studios, making twenty-three feature films in the United States. Some of Lang’s films include Scarlet Street (1945), The Big Heat (1953), and While the City Sleeps (1956).

Nunnally Johnson (1897 – 1977) was a journalist, screenwriter, producer, and director. He worked for many years as a writer at 20th Century-Fox before he co-founded International Pictures in 1943 with William Goetz. Johnson was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 1940 for The Grapes of Wrath. Johnson wrote, produced, and directed The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) and The Three Faces of Eve (1957). As a writer-producer, he is responsible for The Gunfighter (1950), My Cousin Rachel (1952), and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). Johnson’s last credited screenplay was for The Dirty Dozen (1967).

Milton R. Krasner (1904 – 1988) was an American cinematographer. He is best known for his work at 20th Century-Fox where he filmed such classics as All About Eve (1950) and The Seven Year Itch (1955). Other notable films he photographed include Scarlett Street (1945), The Dark Mirror (1946), The Egg and I (1947), The Farmer’s Daughter (1947), Bus Stop (1956), An Affair to Remember (1957), Bells Are Ringing (1960), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), How the West Was Won (1962), Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), and The Singing Nun (1966). Krasner won an Academy Award for his work on Three Coins in the Fountain (1954).

Edward G. Robinson (1893 – 1973) was an American actor of the stage and screen. Robinson is a true star from Hollywood’s Golden Age where he starred in the gangster classic Little Caesar (1931), Kid Galahad (1937), Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939), The Sea Wolf (1941), Double Indemnity (1944), and Key Largo (1948). Robinson was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1973 but was never nominated for a competitive Oscar.

Joan Bennett (1910–1990) began her film career during the early sound era. A natural blonde, Bennett dyed her hair as a plot device in the film Trade Winds (1938). As a brunette, Bennett projected a sultry persona that had her compared to the brunette beauty, Hedy Lamarr. During this period she starred in two costume epics. She played Princess Maria Theresa in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) and Grand Duchess Zona of Lichtenburg in The Son of Monte Cristo (1940). Bennett was one of two finalists for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), along with Paulette Goddard. She had a very successful collaboration with the director Fritz Lang. With Lang, she starred in the classics Man Hunt (1940), The Woman in the Window (1944), and Scarlet Street (1945). Bennett acted on stage and on television where she became a pop culture icon playing Elizabeth Collins Stoddard on the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows (1966-1971).

Dan Duryea (1907 – 1968) was an American film, stage, and television actor. He is best known for his character roles as villains, but he had a long career that included a variety of lead and second lead roles. Duryea graduated from Cornell University in 1928. In his senior year, he was the president of the college drama society. Duryea went to Hollywood in 1940 to Leo Hubbard in The Little Foxes, a role he created on Broadway. He established himself in films noir costarring in classics like Scarlet Street (1945), Criss Cross (1948), and Too Late for Tears (1949).

Below is the link to the movie on YouTube. Please use this link; there are several prints uploaded to the channel, but this one is the best one available.

Join us on Zoom for a discussion of this film on June 30, 2020, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Check below for meeting links.

Stephen Reginald is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Discussion of "The Woman in the Window"
Time: Jun 30, 2020, 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 716 6549 6130
Password: 7yG9D2

Questions for discussion:
1. Noir or not? Does this film fit your idea of film noir?
2. Did you notice any noir visual clues?
3. Was Edward G. Robinson credible as a middle-aged college professor?
4. Any significance to the name Wanely? Why do you think professor Wanely decided to read “The Song of Solomon.”
5. Joan Bennett wasn’t your typical film noir “dame.” What sets her apart from some other femme fatales in other films noir? Were you curious about Bennett’s profession?
6. Fritz Lang is considered one of the best directors of film noir. From what you know about Lang, do you agree? What makes his style unique?
7. Did you like the ending? Was it a surprise or expected?

Trivia: Look for Robert Blake at the beginning of the film. He plays Robinson’s young son. Blake wasn't credited in the movie.


  1. Hi there and hope you are well!

    I've nominated you for the Sunshine Bloggers Award as a recognition of your writing. I've included the link here - which will outline the process to you accepting and thus being honoured with the award.

    Of course, there's no pressure but I hope you'll accept!

    Best regards, Paul from Silver Screen Classics.

  2. Paul, I'm so sorry this message fell through the cracks. Ever since Google changed the way comments were posted, I've had problems. I imagine this honor is way past receiving, but I did want to acknowledge it an apologize for seemingly ignoring it. Be well!

    Stephen Reginald


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...