1944, MGM/Park Circus, 107 min, USA, Dir: Fritz Lang

Gotham College professor Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) becomes obsessed with a woman’s portrait in the window near his men’s club. While admiring the painting, he meets the flesh-and-blood subject (Joan Bennett) and is willingly lured up to her apartment for some Champagne. The woman’s boyfriend bursts in, gets the wrong idea, a lethal scuffle ensues, and before you can say “poor sap,” Wanley agrees to dump the body and cover up the death. Much like in SCARLET STREET, Robinson and director Fritz Lang make a great team, with Robinson perfectly evoking the dangerous pathos of a middle-aged man tempted by youth.

1956, Universal, 84 min, Dir: Douglas Sirk

Hard-working toy manufacturer, Cliff (Fred MacMurray) thinks he has a fairly idyllic family life until old flame, Norma (Barbara Stanwyck) blows back into town, still carrying the torch. Melodrama master Douglas Sirk directs with his usual attention to expressionistic color and emotion-fraught sequences. Numerous top-notch leading and supporting performances, including Pat Crowley as Cliff’s son’s fiancee, Ann.

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