The Woman in the Window

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This movie was a critical favorite, said to be an early film noir from 1944. That's fine, but my takeaway was: it takes a real long time to tell a story that could have easily fit into a 30-minute episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, with plenty of time for Hitch's droll comments on the proceedings.

Edward G. Robinson plays Professor Wanley, an amiable schlub. He's just sent the rest of his family off on vacation, and heads for a boy's night out with his friends (most notably Raymond Massey, playing a DA). On the way, he stops to peruse a portrait of a stunning young lady in—guess where?—a storefront window.

But things take a left turn at the end of the evening, as Wanley admires the portrait one more time on his way home. The WitW herself (Joan Bennett) shows up, notices Wanley's interest, and invites him up to her digs to see other artistic pieces. The Prof unwisely accepts, a jealous boyfriend shows up, a scuffle ensues, someone runs with scissors, someone else becomes very dead. Suspense piles on happenstance, Dan Duryea shows up as a blackmailer, and Wanley attempts to dig himself out of a hopelessly deep hole.

Directed by Fritz Lang, with a funny little twist ending. And, if—sigh—you're of a Certain Age, you might want to see it solely for a short, very funny, appearance by Spanky McFarland.

Last Modified 2012-09-30 9:26 AM EST