The Woman in the Window (1944)

“The Woman in the Window” (1944)

IMDb

weak image

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

I’ve been spending time with Fritz Lang. Good time. I like him. But he disturbs me sometimes. He’s something of an incomplete master. While he was working in Germany, he was attached to expressionism. That meant he worried about creating images, or sequences that were so powerful they could get the viewer in touch with his own consciousness. In those German films he did that practically every film, rarely with an integrated vision, rarely with a perfect assembly of all the powerful elements he could convey. But he always created moments that lasted.

He had a social critic supporting his vision, and he explored characters, trying to bring out their depths. And he would hang all that in a powerful imagery, a vision. Images, basically. Here he does exactly the opposite. Here we have an image that generates a story. That could have been interesting, and indeed, as a concept, it is beautiful. But not well solved here.

This is made when Lang is already fully immersed in the American production context and more than that it is made in a time when the noir has already established most of its rules (the noir which was visually forged in the German 20’/30′ expressionism). This noticeable. Here he discards the social commentary (which was many times vapid, and only an excuse for the images). We do have some exploration of the limits/definitions of morality, but it’s secondary. Instead, the focus here is (tries to be) in the plot. We have the woman, the man, the detective and the body. We are raised all sorts of questions about the crime, and we analyse, first with the inapt murderer and than with the police all the possibilities, all the clues. But this is a failure. We don’t have doubts cast on the intentions of any of the characters. We know what happened, and except for how all will end, we know everything about every character. The woman has no secrets, she shows mysteriously under covered by an enigmatic image, but she really is what she says she is. The protagonist is a pawn in the game, but only due to his clumsiness, not because there’s a bigger game he doesn’t control. So, 3 years after ‘the Maltese falcon’, this narrative kind of construction was well studied.

And the image of the woman, or the context in which it shows, is not powerful enough… it doesn’t move us to another dimension as it should. it doesn’t take us to the dream, like it took Robinson…

My opinion: 2/5

This comment on IMDb

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