Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pocket notebook sighting

[Alice Reed’s address book. I wish she’d written out the exchange names. Click for a larger view.]

The Woman in the Window (dir. Fritz Lang, 1944) stars Edward G. Robinson as Richard Wanley, a mild-mannered assistant professor of psychology. Feeling solidity and stodginess setting in (“Life ends at forty?” a fellow clubman wonders), Wanley steps beyond the limits of his routine and finds himself in suddenly desperate circumstances. Yes, that step involves a woman, the beautiful artist’s model Alice Reed (Joan Bennett). The Woman in the Window resonates with two other great 1944 films: Laura (dir. Otto Preminger) and Double Indemnity (dir. Billy Wilder). As in Laura, a man is captivated by a painting of a beautiful woman. As in Double Indemnity, a killer tracks a murder investigation as it tracks him. But Robinson, who played the ace investigator Barton Keyes in Double Indemnity, here takes the Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) role, not the pursuer but the pursued.

A twist in the film’s plot, which I won’t reveal here, suggests to me that The Woman in the Window is very much about “the movies” — about the kinds of things people say and do in the world on screen.

Here, for Matt Thomas, is a shot of Professor Wanley in his study, writing a letter to his wife.

[Click for a larger view.]

More notebook sightings
Angels with Dirty Faces : Cat People : Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne : Extras : Journal d’un curé de campagne : The House on 92nd Street : The Lodger : Murder, Inc. : The Mystery of the Wax Museum : The Palm Beach Story : Pickpocket : Pickup on South Street : Quai des Orfèvres : Railroaded! : Red-Headed Woman : Rififi : The Sopranos : Spellbound : State Fair : T-Men : Union Station

comments: 2

Matt Thomas said...

Love Woman in the Window, and the movie Fritz Lang did with the same cast the next year, Scarlet Street. I'm due for a re-watch of both. Thanks for calling this desk shot, and pocket notebook shot, to my attention. It's all very "dowdy world" and beautiful, isn't it?

Michael Leddy said...

Scarlet Street went into my queue this morning; I haven’t seen it in years. Here’s a Robinson you might not know: The Red House.

“Dowdy world” — that could catch on. :)