Friday, November 2, 2007

The Woman in the Window (1944)

Since I liked the classics from Fritz Lang especially the Dr. Mabuse movies, I wanted to see how he also adapted to the commercial environnment of Hollywood and the US market.
Directed by Fritz Lang, The Woman in the Window, a sadly tragic film noir, is the story of the doomed love of married psychology-professor Wanley (Edward G. Robinson), who, with murderous results, meets and falls in love with another woman. Wanley first sees the portrait of a beautiful woman, Alice (Joan Bennett), and then meets the woman herself. After committing murder in self-defense, he finds himself blackmailed by Heidt (Dan Duryea). The script, written by Nunnally Johnson, is carefully structured with crisp dialogue and a convincing ending. Lang is at his best, getting excellent performances from Robinson, as the doomed, naive professor, and Bennett both. The Woman in the Window shows that good and evil are present in all, and that circumstances frequently dictate moral choices. Based on J.H. Wallis' novel Once Off Guard, the film gives viewers their money's worth with not one but two logical and satisfying surprise twists at the end. ~ Linda Rasmussen, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 99 mins
The Woman in the Window (1944)
Just like Lang's earlier films, time again was an obsession. Even the outside of Alice's apartment had a street clock. Lang also deals with guilt and redemption with the police basically acting dumb and thus making Wanley feel the pains of guilt. The 'chance meeting' of them also portends the same basic beguiling woman as in Body Heat.

And yes there was two surprises that could have been expected and then another that leads to "Not for a million dollars", when asked for a light from a young woman on the street.

I hope I am not giving anything away in the film but I ran across the idea of Reset button technique.
The reset button technique (based on the idea of status quo ante) is a plot device that interrupts continuity in works of fiction. Simply put, use of a reset button device returns all characters and situations to the status quo they held before a major change of some sort was introduced. Often used in science fiction television series, soap operas, and comic books, the device allows elaborate and dramatic changes to characters and the fictional universe that might otherwise invalidate the premise of the show with respect to future continuity. Writers may, for example, use the technique to allow the audience to experience the death of the lead character, which traditionally would not be possible without effectively ending the work.
The TV drama Dallas—An entire season of the show, including the death of a major character, was written off as a dream of another character.
When reading the top portion of the article, I of course thought back to the Dallas series whole year long dream...

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