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Slightly Scarlet

31 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Feb 26, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Based on James M. Cain's novel LOVE'S LOVELY COUNTERFEIT and a brilliant follow up to his 1940s successes DOUBLE INDEMNITY and POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. Driven by blind ambition, fast-talking publicity man Ben Grace (John Payne) has found a way to smear the reputation of "reform" mayoral candidate Frank Jansen (Kent Taylor). He will do so by exposing Jansen's red-haired girlfriend, June (Rhonda Fleming), with her man-hungry kleptomaniac sister, Dorothy (Arlene Dahl), who also happens to be a convict out on parole. In the process however, Ben finds himself falling for June and seduced by Dorothy, while crime boss Solly Caspar (Ted de Corsia) is breathing down his neck, expecting him to deliver on his promise. John Alton, the legendary noir director of photography, really shows his prowess here in blazing Technicolor. Bonus Features: Anamorphic Widescreen Enhanced for 16x9 monitors| Commentary by Award Winning mystery writer and filmmaker Max Allan Collins| Original Theatrical Trailer| Widescreen. Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital Mono; 99 minutes; Color; 1.77:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR: Year - 1956; SRP - $9.99.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: John Payne, Rhonda Fleming, Arlene Dahl, Kent Taylor, Ted de Corsia
  • Directors: Allan Dwan
  • Writers: James M. Cain, Robert Blees
  • Producers: Benedict Bogeaus
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2002
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y70Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,366 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Slightly Scarlet" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By mackjay on April 19, 2002
Format: DVD
The DVD from VCI presents this film in its widescreen version and the technicolor photography by JOHN ALTON looks terrific. I admit I was at first perplexed by the color: it did not seem necessary. So I turned the color off on the TV and watched some scenes in black & white--they looked terriic, vintage Alton. But watching again in color I realized what may be the very special quality this film has: it looks like those PULP CRIME NOVEL COVERS we have all enjoyed over the years. The reds, greens, blues, yellows, etc of those wonderful old covers seem to be reproduced here. In combination with the very pulpy, James M. Cain-based plotline, we have an extremely FUN movie.
Rhonda Fleming and Arlene Dahl play sisters who share some sort of duplicitous secret from childhood. Director Alan Dwan (who replaced Kurt Neumann for this film) makes sure we appreciate the doppelgangerishness of the actresses from the opening scene--Fleming picks up Dahl as she exits prison and the two embrace in that movie-ish way, cheek-to-cheek, so their striking similarity of features and RED HAIR can be fully displayed. Fleming really could act, and she gets some choice scenes, but Dahl tends to steal most of Fleming's thunder with her pouty, Dorothy Malone-like, bad girl characterization.
John Payne--by 1956 and aging matinee idol--makes a pretty good conflicted lead. But the other real standout is Ted de Corsia as a mean, mean villain along the lines of Lawrence Tierney or Ward Bond. De Corsia gets to chew garishly colored scenery at several turns.
It's always a pleasure to see the ubiquitous Ellen Corby as Fleming's thankless and clueless housekeeper ("what should I make for supper?"..oops she's being arrested!).
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Mark Norvell on September 5, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I like this 50's pulp film because it's an example of what must have been considered "adult" back then. Tough, brutal--with "girlie" shots of redhead Rhonda Fleming in scanty outfits and the all-out performance of Arlene Dahl as her klepto/nympho/psycho sister-both vying for the he-man pleasures of hunky John Payne and everyone caught up in Big City Corruption and Scandal. Lushly photographed and tightly directed ,this is fun stuff--worth repeat viewings any time. Good quality DVD product from VCI that's in vivid 50's color.
I recommend this for buffs who like a little cheese on their cracker--like me.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Henning Sebastian Jahre on January 22, 2006
Format: DVD
This is a fastmoving filmnoir in blazing TECHNICOLOR - and the better for it. The photography by John Alton is spectacular as are the set design and costumes(with Arlene Dahl having a finger in even that)...

John Payne(from SUN VALLEY SERENADE-fame) is quite good as the worldweary guy who take what croms that are offered... Unlike Bogart or Cagney he is a believable character with no high drama or over the top macho stuff. Ted deCorsia is brilliant as Sully the hoodlum - the best I`ve seen really...

But it is ARLENE DAHL who steals the show. At first she is just glamour, but she emerges to what surely is a performance of Oscar material.

Her performance is a beauty to behold - as critic Alison DeWytt in the 20th Century-Fox film "All About Eve" would say: "What a PERFORMANCE... Full of FIRE and music....!"

It`s regrettable that this film has little reputation, because it is 90 minutes of excitement, of fun and intrigue.

I have come to love Arlene Dahl over the years. Posterity names her only as a decorative plant, but with other Norwegian girls in US and UK films - GRETA GYNT, SIGRID GURIE and VERA ZORINA - she remains sadly underrated...

At home I have a collection of films starring these women. I call it the "Susan Dahl collection" hehehe - which includes THE GOLDWYN FOLLIES, ALGIERS, THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO(all 1938), THE DARK EYES OF LONDON 1939, THREE FACES WEST, I WAS AN ADVENTURESS(both 1940), LOUISIANA PURCHASE 1941, TAKE MY LIFE, DEAR MURDERER(both 1947), THE OUTRIDERS, THREE LITTLE WORDS(both 1950), SLIGHTLY SCARLET of course - THE VIKINGS(filmed in Norway)1958 and JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH 1959.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By William Hare on February 23, 2007
Format: DVD
"Slightly Scarlet" was released in 1956. This was a period when the film industry had been rocked on its heels by what Hollywood insiders referred to sarcastically as that "little black box" that we call television.

Since this was the period before color television or wide screens the idea was to exploit the advantage that the film medium had by supplying viewers with what television lacked. They sought to motivate television viewers out of their living room easy chairs and back into theaters by providing luscious color and wide screen entertainment.

The trailer for "Slightly Scarlet" revealed the marketing strategy of producer Benedict Bogeaus. To use the quote that football coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns used to describe the impact of his superstar fullback Jim Brown in the days before both of them reached the Hall of Fame in their respective categories, "If you've got a cannon you shoot it."

What was revealed in the trailer was the emphasis on the two female stars. They were referred to as "the two most beautiful redheads" in films. There could be little doubt that the torrid redheads starring in "Slightly Scarlet" deserved the accolade. The only injustice was that the other two redhead beauties of the period, Susan Hayward and Maureen O'Hara, were left out of the equation, but because they were not in the film the omission was therefore understandable.

Rhonda Fleming, who had been discovered in her teens by Henry Willson, who would as an agent guide the careers of Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter and Guy Madison, and who was then casting director for David O. Selznick, made an eye catching debut playing a psychopath with nymphomaniacal tendencies who also likes to physically hurt men in the great Alfred Hitchcock hit, "Spellbound.
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