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The Woman in the Window (MGM Film Noir)

60 customer reviews

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(Jul 10, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: NR
Release Date: 10-JUL-2007
Media Type: DVD

Fritz Lang did his best work in Hollywood throughout the 1940s, and The Woman in the Window ranks among his best films from that period. Equally adept at crafting first-rate Westerns and melodramatic thrillers, Lang returned to the latter category for The Woman in the Window, a deliciously devious follow-up to 1944's Ministry of Fear and a near-perfect companion piece to Lang's 1945 follow-up, Scarlet Street. Adapted by producer/screenwriter Nunnally Johnson from J.H. Wallis's novel Once Off Guard, this briskly paced and brilliantly plotted thriller begins with a chance encounter between mild-mannered psychology professor Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) and Alice Reed (Joan Bennett), the stylishly alluring subject of a portrait that Wanley has dreamily admired in a window near the men's club where he socializes with a savvy District Attorney (Raymond Massey) and a friendly physician (Edmund Breon). When Alice invites Wanley to her apartment for casual drinks and conversation, Wanley is forced to kill an intruder, and his subsequent cover-up leads to a nail-biting plot in which Wanley must feign innocence as he "innocently" participates in the D.A.'s investigation with a homicide detective.

Lang was an expert at turning the screws of suspense, and while Johnson's screenplay tempers its convenient coincidences with well-written characters, Robinson's increasing desperation is the engine that drives the plot. When a sleazy blackmailer (Dan Duryea) squeezes Wanley and Reed for every penny they've got, The Woman in the Window winds up to a fever pitch, with a "twist" ending that's either a cop-out or clever, depending on your tolerance for now-familiar surprises. As renowned critic Pauline Kael astutely noted, The Woman in the Window has "the logic and plausibility of a nightmare," and Lang surely enjoyed the superbly cast trio of Robinson, Bennett, and Duryea, for he invited them back for Scarlet Street just a few months later. And speaking of murder, check out the kid playing Robinson's son in one of the opening scenes: that's future real-life murder-conspiracy suspect Bobby (Robert) Blake (subsequently acquitted), at the innocent age of 10. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey, Edmund Breon, Dan Duryea
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PMFRW4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,960 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Woman in the Window (MGM Film Noir)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 77 people found the following review helpful By C. Roberts on March 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Edward G. Robinson gave a superb performance in "The Woman in the Window" which he made the same year as he starred in Billy Wilder's classic movie "Double Indemnity" (1944). To have two great parts such as these in the same year was a remarkable achievement but Robinson was a talented actor and played a variety of roles in a long and successful career. He started out at Warner Bros. in typical gangster roles (along with Bogart and Cagney) but by the 40's had branched out into other more satisfying characterisations. In "The Woman in the Window" he was outstanding as Professor Richard Wanley and had excellent support from Joan Bennett as the seductive Alice Reed and Dan Duryea was suitably menacing as the villainous Heidt. The film was powerfully directed by Fritz Lang with an unexpected surprise twist at the end!!

Robinson plays decent and respectable Richard Wanley whose family life is very straightforward and orderly. However, his peaceful routine is about to be devastated by sinister events completely beyond his control. With his wife and children away on holiday he is visiting his club for a quiet drink with colleagues when he stops to admire the painting of a woman in the window of an art gallery nearby. Much to his astonishment he sees the glamorous model (Joan Bennett) watching him carefully. She explains that she often visits the gallery to check on people's reactions to her painting in the window. After a few minutes conversation they go for a drink and then continue on to her apartment which turns out to be Robinson's biggest mistake. The events which follow lead to violence, murder and blackmail made even more complicated when Wanley's friend District Attorney Lalor (Raymond Massey) is assigned to the investigation.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By on June 1, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Fritz Langs great, clever movie about fidelity, of all things, wrapped in a murder melodrama. Robinson plays a meek, well-respected man of standing who after sending his wife and child away for the summer (a common practice of well-off New Yorkers in the days befor air conditioners)lusts after the painting of a beautiful woman in the window of an art store.
The conservative, reliable Robinson imagines what it would be like if he were presented with the opportunity to be impetuous for once. Oh, what he would do if he ever met this woman.
Lang obliges, or shall we say lets him have it, and Robinson's dream turns into a nightmare. A lesson actually. Remember what your mother told you about what happens to little boys who smoke?
Maltin calls this a melodrama. It's actually a very subtle, dark comedy, one without any jokes. Just a scenario that gets out of hand as it rolls along. I can't explain why without giving it away, just a terrific storyline.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Seen Them All on April 28, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Stars Edward G. Robinson as a college professor who meets regularly with colleagues at a mens club. Next door to the club is a portrait of a beautiful woman in the window of a studio. The men come look at the portrait and admire her beauty. One evening Robinson meets the woman and goes to her apartment for a drink. Her boyfriend bursts in and in the ensuing scuffle is killed. But things are not really as they seem and Robinson eventually learns the truth behind his chance meeting with the "woman in the window". A Very good mystery with good performances.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
If you can enjoy a film with all the suspense and turns that each character can contribute to the story, then "Woman In the Window" is for you. The video is approx. 120 minuntes and had been digital restored to provide a crisp video and audio that will satisfy the film noir fan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Muzzlehatch VINE VOICE on December 9, 2009
Format: DVD
** Some SPOILERS contained in this review which I feel are unavoidable **

It's interesting in retrospect that Fritz Lang, the director more than any other associated with the shadowy and deterministic world of film noir started off his noir period with this (relatively) sunny, funny, and even playful film that seems to poke fun at the whole criminal-detective genre all the while offering a riveting example of it. I suspect that most viewers won't guess the "twist" ending on their first viewings, but careful rewatches show it to be fairly logical and not the throw-you-for-a-loop that some less-kind viewers have seen it as.

Professor of Psychology Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) is seen giving a lecture on the psychology of murder, after which he sees his wife and kids off for their weekend in the country, and then goes to meet a couple of old friends at his club, just outside of which he admires a mysterious portrait painting of a beautiful young woman. One of his friends is a District Attorney (Raymond Massey) and the talk amongst the group inevitably turns to such subjects as crime, their growing infirmities as they move through middle age, the dangers of too much alcohol, the desires of infirm flesh and minds. Wanley retires to a favorite chair to read, desiring to be reminded when it is 10:30.

At the appointed hour, the Professor leaves the club, pausing once more to admire the mysterious portrait - but this time encountering the model who posed for it, the equally beautiful Alice Reed (Joan Bennett). Having had a little too much, the Professor unwisely accompanies Miss Reed to her apartment to look at more paintings - but they are unfortunately surprised by her lover, "Frank", a fight ensues, and Frank is dead with scissors in the back.
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