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Slightly Scarlet (1956)

John Payne , Rhonda Fleming , Allan Dwan  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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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 (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y70Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,526 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Slightly Scarlet" on IMDb

Special Features


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.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Slightly Scarlet" : Definitely Get It April 19, 2002
By mackjay
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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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OVERLOOKED NOIR THRILLER 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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Torrid Redheads February 23, 2007
"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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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BRAVO BRAVAAAA ARLENE DAHL January 22, 2006
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Beauty on Display
Two fabulous redheads Rhonda Fleming & Arlene Dahl, both still with us at this writing, are sisters in this film noir directed by Allan Dwan. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ms.Beyonce
4.0 out of 5 stars well done
Rhonda Fleming and Arlene Dahl sizzle. Good performances by all actors. John Payne does a good job as a good/bad guy.
Published 14 months ago by david erickson
GREAT FILM NOIR CLASSIC!!!!! For all of you film noir buffs 'out there'..BUY THIS MOVIE!!!!And get it through Amazon.. Read more
Published 19 months ago by stephany, THE NEW VERY SATISFIED OWNER OF 'FILM NOIR'.....
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty women, bad acting
The two leading ladies were pretty and good actors. The story was weak (no real drama) and John Payne could not make up his mind as to how to play the role. Read more
Published 21 months ago by V. Trotter
5.0 out of 5 stars slightly scarlett
i received the item and i have seen it it is an excellent movie
also it was very quick service thanks for the promptness
Published on July 29, 2012 by honourme
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
I rate this film among the worst I have ever seen. Laughable dialogue, actors walking through their lines, totally unimaginative direction... Read more
Published on January 9, 2012 by WSH
1.0 out of 5 stars Wondering movie never gets going.
Hard to tell who the main character is - finally when you know you are hardly involved - with no strong driving lead character you are just an observer of events wondering when... Read more
Published on November 7, 2011 by Shock Writer
5.0 out of 5 stars John Payne and film noir fan!
I thought I had seen all of John Payne's movies. This is not one of his best, but was fairly interesting. Happy to have this in my collection.
Published on June 20, 2011 by Pendeplume
3.0 out of 5 stars Oddball "color noir" finally on DVD
This strange, subversive noir thriller has a pretty wild reputation, but the film itself is more macabre than shocking. Read more
Published on June 7, 2010 by R. Gorey
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Slightly Scarlet
Well done late noir era study of urban corruption where the femal leads outshine the men. Rhonda
Fleming is, as usual, beautiful, intelligent, and charming. Read more
Published on September 8, 2009 by Earl Rogers
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