7.7/10
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108 user 81 critic

The Woman in the Window (1944)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 3 November 1944 (USA)
A conservative middle aged professor engages in a relationship with a femme fatale, he's plunged into a nightmarish world of blackmail and murder.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Nunnally Johnson (written for the screen by), J.H. Wallis (novel) (as J. H. Wallis)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Prof. Richard Wanley
Joan Bennett ... Alice Reed
Raymond Massey ... District Attorney Frank Lalor
Edmund Breon ... Dr. Michael Barkstane
Dan Duryea ... Heidt / Tim
Thomas E. Jackson ... Inspector Jackson
Dorothy Peterson ... Mrs. Wanley
Arthur Loft ... Claude Mazard / Charlie
Frank Dawson ... Collins
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Storyline

Gotham College professor Wanley and his friends become obsessed with the portrait of a woman in the window next to the men's club. Wanley happens to meet the woman while admiring her portrait, and ends up in her apartment for talk and a bit of champagne. Her boyfriend bursts in and misinterprets Wanley's presence, whereupon a scuffle ensues and the boyfriend gets killed. In order to protect his reputation, the professor agrees to dump the body and help cover up the killing, but becomes increasingly suspect as the police uncover more and more clues and a blackmailer begins leaning on the woman. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A too-beautiful woman, a too-carefree man--and an evening of gay flirtation shifting madly into a panic of guilt and fear and crimson MURDER... THAT'S EXCITEMENT FOR YOU! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The painting of Alice Reed was done by Paul Clemens. He painted portraits of many Hollywood stars, often with their children. He was married to Eleanor Parker from 1954 to 1965. See more »

Goofs

When Claude Mazard hits Alice in the face, his hand clearly does not actually hit her, yet she reacts to it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Richard Wanley: [lecturing] The Biblical injunction "Thou shalt not kill" is one that requires qualification in view of our broader knowledge of impulses behind homicide. The various legal categories such as first and second degree murder, the various degrees of homicide, manslaughter, are civilized recognitions of impulses of various degrees of culpability. The man who kills in self defense, for instance, must not be judged by the same standards applied to the man who kills for gain.
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Alternate Versions

Also shown in a color-computerized version. See more »

User Reviews

 
Middle Aged Men Better Stick To Looking At Landscapes.
24 February 2001 | by Ted-101See all my reviews

This film puts forward the theory that all middle-aged men are destined to "play-the-sap" for young women, and since it must come to pass, it is prudent to do so in ones fantasies, not in reality. It's a blast listening to Prof. Wanley, (Edward G. Robinson), District Attorney Frank Loler, (Raymond Massey), and Dr. Barkstane, (Edmund Breon), all in their late 40's to late 50's, talking about young women as though they were living bomb-shells. Why, if a middle-aged man gets within 30 feet of a pretty young woman, she could mesmerize him with a glance, make him give her all his possessions for a single kiss, and of course, eventually destroy him completely...with one hand tied behind her back. Indeed, Edmund Breon, who played a middle-aged music box collector in the excellent Rathbone/Sherlock Holmes film, "Dressed To Kill", fell under the thrall of beautiful villainess Patricia Morison in that film, and paid with his life. What got our brave trio talking about young women in the first place is the compelling painting of a beautiful young woman in an art gallery window, which is next store to their club. They all fell in love with her at first sight, with Robinson the last to see it, and the last to have his heart pierced. Massey and Breon are watching him, and start giving Robinson the needle. "We saw her first, so you stay out of it."

It is Robinson's destiny to meet the woman in the portrait, Alice Reed, played wonderfully by Joan Bennett. Of course he's wary, and full of reservations at this chance meeting. To his credit, he doesn't make a fool out of himself, and Bennett genuinely seems to like him. What Robinson does so effectively in this film is convey very subtly, that he can never really quite accept even the possibility that he could hold this beautiful woman's attention, no matter how charming or interesting he really is. It's never stated but implied, that he thinks she's doing him a favor by making friends with him.

Of course, this encounter leads to trouble, very serious trouble, and the "Woman In The Window" ventures into the dark waters of blackmail and murder. District Attorney Lalor (Massey) is in charge of the case, making things even more intriguing. It is a compelling film, and Robinson & Bennett are superb in their scenes together. I'll leave you to discover just what kind of woman the mysterious Alice Reed turns out to be. This is a very interesting and enjoyable film.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Once Off Guard See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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